She is a firm believer that women are not the weaker sex and that every woman can man up, fight and defend themselves should the need arise. We caught up with Dominique Olfsen to chat about how Krav Maga changed her life.
In a country like South Africa, where crime is on the rise daily, everyone ought to know how to protect themselves.
Dominique Olfsen (41) believes self-defence is a skill set required by men, women and children and through her life’s journey came to a point where she wanted something to do – something she enjoys, something for herself.
She discovered Krav Maga and is now a highly motivated Krav Maga instructor.
It’s a self-defence thing
Self-defence enables you to protect not only yourself but your loved ones too, if needed.
‘I am a business owner, wife and mother. Most of the time, I didn’t focus on myself. I just made sure everyone else was looked after and had everything they needed.
‘Then one day I woke up and decided to look for something I would enjoy. Krav Maga just fell into my lap,’ she said.
Krav Maga is an effective, modern and dynamic self-defence and fighting system. It is designed to be practical and intuitive for people of any age, shape or size.
The techniques expand on your instincts to develop skills quickly and effectively while enabling you to address attacks in any scenario.
You will learn how to defend yourself and your loved ones while gaining increased awareness and instinctive reflexes.
For most people, should they find themselves in a compromised position or under attack, their reaction is to fight, freeze or flee. With proper self-defence training, you are trained to handle these situations, assess and react.
While Krav Maga teaches you serious skills, Dominique and business partner Jessica Arde are hell-bent on saving lives, not taking it.
‘Despite what some people think, you’re not taught to simply react to every threat. You’re trained to defuse and de-escalate. Physical violence is always a last resort,’ she explained.
She said that an increased level of self-confidence comes with consistent training. Dominique’s life was changed by Krav Maga because it helped her to gain confidence and empower herself.
‘It’s about finding safety in difficult situations. The benefits of becoming physically and emotionally fit are many. Krav Maga is simple, yet effective.’
Spreading love and self-defence techniques
“I can’t tell you how passionate I feel about teaching these lifesaving, self-defence techniques to women and children. While the term self-defence is a legal phrase, there is nothing defensive about what I teach, and it is certainly not our strategy. To survive, you have to attack and fight for your life.’
Her focus and passion lie with women and girls, as she feels they are the most vulnerable.
‘I am not meek, mild nor ‘the weaker sex’. I refuse to accept those labels. I don’t accept them for myself, my impressionable daughters who are watching my every move, nor for any other female.
‘We are enough. We are strong. We are capable. As a woman, I may never be stronger than the average man, but I don’t need to be. I don’t rely on strength or size to take the biggest, worst guy down that touches me or any of my loved ones. I rely on a set of skills, techniques and principles I’ve acquired through Krav Maga to save my life.
‘Experience has become the driving force behind my passion,’ said Dominique.
According to her, Krav Maga offers women a valuable set of skills that can be lifesaving, but most of all, empowering.
‘It is my absolute mission to get as many people as I possibly can into classes across the country and urge them to take back their power.
‘I live in a country where crime is out of control, and while I have already been a ‘statistic’ multiple times, I choose to equip myself with skills and techniques that enable me to defend myself instead of screaming about the state of the nation from behind my keyboard,’ she added.
It is important for her to protect her daughters in any kind of situation.
‘I do not want to ever find myself in a situation where I can’t protect them.’
The best part of her job
The best part of her job as an instructor is watching women find their inner beast.
‘I like to show them how strong and able they really are,’ said Dominique.
‘Being fortunate to instruct this close combat system, I believe in women and children being able to reduce the chance of becoming a victim through self-awareness, confidence in their ability and a strong mind.
‘While the skill acquired is substantial, the side-effects of your training are great too. Strengthening and conditioning, toning and weight loss but, more importantly, joining a circle of like-minded people who would support you in all situations,’ she said.
A challenge she faces daily is not having enough hours in a day.
‘I have a busy schedule that often leaves me feeling like a one-woman circus. Between running a digital marketing agency, two busy young girls and Krav Maga, it leaves little time for downtime.’
Training little ones
According to her, the difference between teaching adults and children boils down to using a different teaching style, with age-appropriate techniques and principles.
‘We teach children simple, easy-to-remember techniques, like instead of yelling for ‘help’ rather scream ‘fire’, as statistically, that attracts more attention.
‘We teach them to get out of the situation and go look for help. There is a lot to be taught in the way of confidence and self-awareness before needing to resort to anything physical. However, if they need to rely on physical techniques, they’re well prepared.’
This and that
Dominique is an Alberton native. Her degree in integrated marketing communication followed her graduation from Hoërskool Marais Viljoen High School.
She moved to Cape Town after 23 years in Alberton but returned two years later. She now lives in Bedfordview and runs her digital agency. She is also one of the owners of 1441 Combat in New Redruth.
Dominique has been married for 16 years to, Sean, who she met when she was 19. They have two daughters.
The Olfsen’s love to spend quality time together and enjoy cycling, walking their dogs or watching a movie at the cinema.
When asked who her biggest inspiration is, she said her daughter, Mika, inspires her.
‘If her mind is set on something, she will hold on to it until she succeeds. She has so much fire, energy and self-discipline. I sometimes wish she could see herself through my eyes. She motivates me to do better,’ Dominique said.
Text: ELZAAN PIENAAR. Photo: ELZAAN PIENAAR.