TERRIFIED Brits are wearing stab proof vests and flocking to self-defence classes in a desperate attempt to stay safe on Lawless London’s streets.
The capital’s violent crime has seen Brits urgently learning how to defend themselves as knife crime rates hit record highs, while yet another terror attack claimed the lives of two people just last month.
Martial arts and self defence coach Sharif Joynson told The Sun Online he had been contacted by Londoners in the wake of the most recent terror attack at London Bridge, desperate to know what to do if they should come face-to-face with a similar situation.
He said: “I think everyone is feeling it, especially as it has been twice in the same part of London.
“It’s quite close to home and there’s a feeling from the public that they want to know what to do.”
And he revealed students were coming to him having already invested in tourniquets and slash vests to carry with them at all times through the city.
Hosting a class at Tokei Fitness Centre at London Bridge, Mr Joynson teaches students how to focus on tackling a knifeman – giving them the confidence to know what to do in a life-threatening situation.
Students are taught how to fight back and tackle their attacker to the ground.
It's something Mr Joynson calls option three – if you have been unable to avoid a situation or run away.
Just one student at the self-defence classes was Ibi Idoniboye, 37, whose own cousin was killed in a knife crime attack as his business was robbed ten years ago.
Ibi, a commodities analyst who also competes boxing, said: "The class was good – it teaches you the practicality and the mindset of where you need to be.
"In a situation, everyone comes together and you can tackle anything. You can bring down the bad guy."
Another student, Cemo Imamzade, 35, said she had recently bought a property in Edmonton – aware of the spate of stabbing attacks in the area.
The PR rep said her boyfriend had even heard groups of men speaking on the train openly about how they wanted to stab people.
She said: "I feel like I should be aware of certain protocols I need to prevent anything happening, I feel personally invested.
"My boyfriend was travelling on the overground from Seven Sisters to Edmonton and four boys wearing balaclavas and gloves were saying they were going to stab someone and kill them.
"I can't say I will be fully prepared for anything but I do feel one step closer."
'WE'VE HAD ENOUGH'
FROM bullet proof vests to tourniquets, Nick Hatter is ready for anything.
The 28-year-old has taken extreme measures to protect himself on the streets of London after being attacked by a gang of youths.
Nick was battered by a gang of five youths about two years ago, bashed after heroically trying to call them out for shoplifting in Queensway.
Speaking to the Sun Online, the life coach said: “I called them out for shoplifting, I was trying to be a good citizen but got my a*** kicked.
“After it happened I saw these youths again and I was worried they would be packing weapons so I started to wear a covert vest.”
Along with the bullet proof vest, Nick also started carrying haemostatic bandages to clot wounds and bandages.
He said: “I felt more safe, I felt a little more paranoid as well but the reality is, there’s a lot of knife crime in London.”
While admitting it was a dangerous thing to do to try to confront the teens, Nick said he had since taken self-defense classes with Sharif to prepare himself for the worst.
The young man, from Notting Hill, said: “Without training and stuff, a lot of people are sitting ducks.
“Sometimes there are situations where you can’t avoid it and your only option is to fight your way out of it.
“Anybody can do it, anybody can learn it.”
And after taking a course, he has since even found himself in a situation where he needed to use it.
About a year ago, he was confronted by a man attacking a number of people at church.
He said: “He was going to attack me – without even thinking I smacked him in the head like Sharif taught me.
“That’s the first time in my life I have ever hit anyone.
“But I knew what to do, rather than cowering in the corner.”
While he has moved to Notting Hill and no longer feels the need to wear a stab proof vest, he said he would encourage others to learn how to defend themselves.
He said: “I think that – as we have seen with the London Bridge attack, we have decided we have had enough of this s***.”
Websites selling slash proof vests have already appeared online, while another site sells legal sprays, rape alarms and even self defence pens.
Bladerunner last year saw sales soar by 22 per cent following the bloodshed in the capital.
Covert escape necklaces can be bought from £12.50 that help to cut through cable ties while glass breakers disguised as bracelets are also being promoted.
And Mr Joynson said it was simply a symptom of Brits desperately trying to prepare themselves for the all too common danger on the streets.
Mr Joynson, who has trained with veterans in the UK and Asia and served with the British Army Reserves, added: “There is a whole spectrum of things people can do from spotting it to escaping it or, if you are going to make the decision to do something, what to do.”
RISE IN VIOLENT CRIME
It comes as the number of violent deaths on the streets of London this year has surpassed the 2018 figure after the 133rd person of 2019 was killed in the capital.
This year is the bloodiest since 2008 when 154 homicides – which includes murder and manslaughter – were recorded in London.
Meanwhile, knife crime has hit a record high after more than 44,000 offences were recorded in the last year.
Police-recorded offences involving a knife or sharp instrument rose from 41,158 to 44,076, figures by the Office for National Statistics revealed.
But it’s not just confined to London.
TIMELINE OF TERROR
March 2017: Five people died when Khalid Masood launched an attack on Westminster
May 2017: Twenty-two people were killed when Salman Abedi, 22, orchestrated a bomb attack at Manchester Arena during an Ariana Grande concert
June 2017: Eight people were murdered when three terrorists drove into pedestrians before attacking revellers around Borough Market
June 2017: Darren Osborne was jailed for life after driving at worshippers outside Finsbury Park
November 2019: Two people were stabbed to death when Usman Khan donned a fake suicide vest and launched an attack on London Bridge
Aimran Majid, a lead instructor for British military martial arts in Birmingham, said parents of children as young as 11 were coming to him to ask him for help.
He said: “There has definitely been a rise of parents contacting me.
“Kids are travelling on their own and parents know the levels of knife crime on the streets.
“They want their child to walk taller so they can make a decision and be safe.”
Just two of his students are aged nine and seven-years-old – already being taught around how to handle anything from bullying to how to avoid gangs.
Their parents are both police officers, with their dad telling the Sun Online he wanted his kids to be prepared.
He said: "This is the world we live in now – it's unfortunate but you have to prepare them."
The family has a first aid kit in the car, with the youngsters aware there are bandages ready in case of an emergency.
The dad said: "The world is changing – I didn't do first aid training when I was growing up.
"Now we needs the kids to know how to assess situations, how to withdraw from them or what to do. "
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