Polish self-defense classes for women touted as deterrence from Russian aggression by MSM

File photo © Dylan Martinez
The Polish Army has launched free courses in unarmed combat for women, a move interpreted as preparation for a Russian invasion by some Western media.

“Poland's army offers self-defence lessons to WOMEN before potential Russian invasion,” read the headline of the Daily Mail’s story about the initiative. It was later replaced with a less fear-mongering version: “Poland's army offers free self-defence lessons to women as the country ramps up its military under the threat of Russian invasion.”

The International Business Times ran the story as “Polish women receive free unarmed combat classes from army amid fears of Russian invasion.” Some other media outlets like the BBC and the Independent likewise reported the self-defense courses as happening against the backdrop of the perceived Russian threat.

The Polish program will have national army instructors teaching unarmed combat techniques to civilian women in 30 cities, according to a statement on the army’s website. The course consists of eight classes lasting several hours each between November 19, 2016 and June 3, 2017.

The instructors will teach volunteers, 18 or older, how to break a hold or a choke and to protect oneself from various melee attacks. Participants are also promised that their overall fitness will improve.

Media reports touting the Russian threat do not explain how these skills would help Polish women in an armed conflict with Russia. The Polish ministry statement does not even mention Russia, and local media reports tend to omit the country too.

Some commenters in Poland suggested that the courses are a publicity stunt on the part of the military, or simply a recruiting method. Similar courses are taught by the police, according to the Rzeczpospolita newspaper.

The conservative Polish government, and Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz in particular, have not hesitated to accuse Russia of being aggressive and a threat to their country, which is currently overhauling its defense industry and the military in order to meet NATO standards.