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Women looking out for women


fficially kicking off a women’s self-defence programme is something that Billie and Buddy Hunter, owners of Evolution Fitness, have been aspiring to do since relocating the gym’s premises two years ago. “It was always a plan of ours to be more involved in the community beyond just health and fitness, such as teaching people how to defend themselves,” states Billie. “However, our relocation was at the same time Coronavirus first broke out, which was quite unfortunate. However, I’m very glad to finally be able to introduce this course to those who will really benefit from it.”

The classes will be taught over the course of a four-week period, every Wednesday from 5:45pm, and will include an array of physical as well as mental and behavioural tactics for women to use in times of need. Not only will participants be taught how to physically protect themselves through a combination of mixed martial arts, including Brazilian jiu-jitsu, kung-fu, wing chun and kickboxing, but will also be taught how to avoid having to ever use this knowledge in the first place. “We practise self-defence to not have to use it,” says Billie. “Learning how to defend yourself is empowering yourself, but getting physical should always be a last resort. This is why we will also be covering many topics such as body language, having an assertive voice and being aware of our surroundings to name a few.” As Billie explains, an attacker is much more likely to choose their victims based on their lack of confidence. “Confidence is a self-defence tool in itself. To be able to turn around and look at your attacker, even just to memorise their appearance, while standing up strong is generally enough to discourage them from choosing you as a victim. This is also something women struggle with hugely, as we have always been told that by being submissive, we will deflect attention away from us. This is not true.”

The Evolution Fitness team are open to introducing further courses in the future to benefit other members of the community; however, due to the nature of the topic, Evolution Fitness has decided to keep the course for women only, including only women trainers too. “We hate to have to divide classes by gender, especially as self-defence is a vital skill for everybody to learn. In this circumstance, it is important to cater to women who may find the presence of men uncomfortable considering it is a touchy subject. This is also why we are only accepting participants 14 years and older, as it is a very sensitive subject, hence requiring a calm learning space,” explains Billie. “I encourage people interested in coming along to sign up with a support person if needed or even just wanted. This is a really popular option for mothers and daughters or friends.”

Senior Constable, Don Edgecomb, comments on the matter and the good the police-endorsed women’s self-defence course will bring to Mercury Bay. “As a serving member of the community, I highly recommend this course. Not only will it empower women, but it will also instill in them a confidence to react in real life scenarios where fight or flight will kick in rather than freeze, which happens all too often. If there is a non-violent means to avoid danger, then this would be ideal. However, we live in a world where idealism and reality unfortunately don’t meet. It’s better to be prepared.”

To register your interest, email Evolution Fitness ( Limited spots!

Pictured: Three women’s self defence coaches that will be taking the classes:

coach and co-owner of Evolution Fitness, Billie Hunter, and coaches Shena Christian and Te Paea Puha.


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