Training in Krav Maga has given me the confidence to keep myself out of harms way, writes Donna Ahern

This article was written by Journalist Donna Ahern after taking our self defence classes


This time last year, as the country opened up following rollover lockdowns, in a social capacity, I found myself making up for lost time.

As a journalist, I was doing the rounds on the social circuit, going to press launches, Christmas events and catching up with friends.

Due to the fact that Dublin city was bustling, trying to nab a cab was near impossible.

As I live close enough to the city centre, I found myself walking home more often than not.

In order to protect myself my weapon of choice was a bottle of perfume.

If I found myself in a dangerous encounter, my intention was to squirt it in to a potential perpetrator‘s eyes and run.

On reflection, I know now that this would have aggravated the situation.

At 5ft 2″ I am an easy target but luckily I survived the festive period unscathed.

Dangerous encounter

Rolling back to a few years previously, I wasn’t so fortunate.

I experienced a very scary encounter.

Walking down South Annes street, off Grafton Street on my way home after a night out, I was met by two men, one of which repeated, “Lovely lady” as they approached me.

Realising I was in an unsavoury situation I turned with the intention of walking towards a safer environment.

However, a third man was standing behind me to block my way and ushered me to the wall, where he pinned me by placing his arm on my neck, as his friends looked on and laughed. I froze.

The men suddenly retreated.

I discovered that he had unzipped my handbag and had taken my wallet that I had inside.

Looking back to that particular incident and even to last year, I realise how naïve and careless I was.

As a wise man Patrick Cumiskey highlighted, we plan our travel for when we are going out but we seldomly plan our way home. A mistake I will never make again.

Krav Maga Ireland 

Patrick is the man who brought Krav Maga, which is an Israeli martial art to Ireland in 2001.

It is a form of self-defence, which provides you with everything you need to know in order to avoid, prevent and escape from a violent assault.

To date, Patrick has taught 20 military units and over 80,000 people and he now provides the military based self-defence training for everyday normal people.

Red flags

I enrolled in his self-defence course at the end of January.

Since then I have attended two refresher courses throughout the year and I have never looked back.

Despite the seriousness of the physical techniques and psychological tips that I received, the direction and instruction from Patrick and Maria (instructor) made the journey accessible through the teaching method that they used.

The classes are for men and women and no previous experience or specific fitness level is required.

Through the training the emphasis was on real world situations and the other attendees and I were taught skills which has enabled us to become effective very fast if we find ourselves in a dangerous situation.

During the classes, Patrick outlined a number of ‘red flags’ that people should look out for when they are approached by a potential offender.

These include: Forced Teaming: Pretending to Help; Loitering; Over friendliness and most importantly ignoring ‘No’.


Looking ahead, in future I will do my utmost to ensure that I don’t put myself in danger again.

First and foremost what Patrick taught us is – if we sense danger, if possible – run.

However, following my training, if that fails and if the circumstances unfold in a manner in which I can’t, I am now confident that I am able to handle a difficult situation.

Patrick’s top tips to stop the fight before it begins

  • Think like your own body guard.
  • Always be aware of the surroundings.
  • Trust your instincts.
  • If you say ‘No’ and it’s ignored, immediately leave.
  • Have a plan for getting home.
  • Do not allow someone you don’t know within a metre of you without having your hands up.