- When he’s not in court, lawyer Alan Regel a black karate belt enjoys teaching self-defense classes in the community.
- He’s been going to the North for the court since 1986.
He assisted in the teaching of karate at an RCMP club in Yellowknife. In the early 2000s, he opened a dojo in Florida before returning to Canada and working as a lawyer in northern communities.
“If I go to a community and I have time on my hands, I’ll do a self-defense seminar,” Regel said, noting that he had just finished a session in Coral Harbour after teaching classes in several Kivalliq communities over the summer.
His classes teach basic moves such as getting out of a headlock or slipping out of someone’s grip. Though the sessions aren’t long enough to cover more advanced topics, such as adequately defending against a knife attack, Regel tries to include enough teaching that if someone is in a risky situation, one of the sessions may come to mind, and that person may be able to escape.
“Hopefully, they don’t have to use it,” Regel said, adding that there are theories that are simply practicing self-defense can give people an extra boost of confidence, which may deter would-be attackers.
He teaches students of all ages, from eight years old to the elderly. He recalls fondly a 70-year-old man in Chesterfield Inlet who shocked Regel and his co-instructor.
He tries to keep the classes short and sweet, estimating that youth have a 45-minute attention span. Nevertheless, he says many of them absorb everything, and participants are encouraged to form their groups to continue practicing when he is not present.
One of the messages he attempts to convey to participants is that the first line of defense should avoid the situation entirely.
“In karate, there’s a saying that when two tigers fight, one dies, and the other is seriously injured,” Regel explained. “You never know whether you’ll be on the receiving end of things or not.”
Source: Nunavut News