Self-defence sessions in Alhaurín el Grande help women overcome fear of vulnerable situations

Concordia Márques (left) during one of the sessions.
Concordia Márques (left) during one of the sessions. / CYD
  • The workshops are free and led by Concordia Márquez, an expert in martial arts who says strength comes from the mind, not the body

"It's fear, rather than a weapon, that normally kills somebody," says Concordia Márquez, who is an expert in martial arts. While recovering from a foot injury which means she can't do any heavy work at the CYD Santa María animal refuge in Alhaurín el Grande, of which she is the president, she has decided to use her skills to help other "sentient beings" - in this case women who are suffering or have suffered (or want to prevent) physical and sexual aggression.

Concordia is running a series of free workshops on personal defence at the Novagym in Alhaurín el Grande twice a week. She quotes Mahatma Gandhi to explain the philosophy behind these sessions. "Strength isn't a matter of physical ability, it comes from the mind," she says. The workshops are open to any woman who wants to overcome their fear and learn how to defend themselves, whether from body-to-body aggression or threats with firearms, knives, sticks or similar objects. "It breaks my heart when I see on the news the atrocities which are carried out on women in Spain, and also the pain of their families. If I can give my grain of sand to the cause, then I'm satisfied," she says.

The sessions are free, but those attending must pay the gym fee to be covered by the insurance.