Langley karate instructor offers classes in wake of sexual assault

A local instructor is expanding his courses, with proceeds to benefit Ishtar Housing Society.

A Langley karate instructor is holding special sessions to teach women self defence in the wake of a sexual assault in Aldergrove.

“This assault in Aldergrove, that’s just a tipping point,” said Leo Van Den Boogaard.

He mentioned a number of other assaults or attempted assaults in the Lower Mainland that have made the news recently. And an acquaintance of his was also sexually assaulted.

For the past 25 years, Van Den Boogaard has run his classes out of the Douglas Park Rec Centre, but now he’s planning to expand his self defense offerings.

A three-day course over the course of three weeks will be offered, to give women a good grounding in how to defend themselves in the event of an attack.

The courses start on May 19 and will be held from 12 to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoons at Douglas Park.

The classes cost $30 per person, but Van Den Boogaard will be donating his portion of the course costs to the Ishtar Transition Housing Society, which aids women leaving domestic abuse.

“I’m not motivated by money,” said the longtime Richmond firefighter.

He anticipates that there could be as many as 50 spaces available – he said the classes will welcome as many people as can fit into the building.

Women are typically at a disadvantage in a physical confrontation, said Van Den Boogaard. Training can help level the playing field.

“The most beautiful thing is the empowerment it gives to women,” he said.

To sign up for a space in the classes, call the Langley City parks and recreation department at 604-514-2865.

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