(Sixth Sense Self Defense)

Everyone deserves to have the tools they need to feel safe.

Yvette André is the creator and head instructor of Sixth Sense Self Defence, a Victoria company wanting to help young women and female identifying individuals feel safe through setting boundaries and learning how to navigate a boundary being broken. 

Sixth Sense Self Defence’s vision as an entity is to provide a trauma-informed approach to embolden and empower women providing confidence, resourcefulness and awareness. 

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Sexual assaults, sex trafficking, harassment and gender-targeted violence all occur more frequently in Greater Victoria than one may believe. The subjects remain taboo in most households because many wish to not think about these topics, and thus not speak about them. 

Related:

Victoria director creates film to expose increase in human trafficking on Vancouver Island

Sixth Sense Self Defence has the ability and the language to talk about these topics in a way that empowers instead of instilling fear. 

André has been trained in several forms of martial arts and has a passion for passing along knowledge to as many women as she can. She has learned through knowledge passed down to her and through her own experience that it all boils down to boundaries and the danger that can come with breaking them. 

“[Female identifying] women and girls have a very different challenge because we’ve been groomed to be quiet, don’t make a scene, don’t be rude, all of these factors play into a sort of societal grooming of how to hold a boundary or not hold a boundary,” André told Victoria Buzz. 

“It really lit a fire under me about education.”

Inspired by her passion, André created Sixth Sense Self Defence to pass along tools and knowledge to women and young girls.

“Of course we need to have our basic self-defence skills, but what happens when you’re in an adrenaline-induced situation,” asked André. “You forget all your training. You just need a very primal response; fight, flight freeze or fawn.”

André learned through her research that over 90% of women have a freeze response as a default due to conditioning and societal grooming. The tools and knowledge she is looking to provide through her courses are to lessen the number of women who will default to freeze. 

“We live in what we consider to be a very socially safe environment and for the most part it is, and I don’t want to instill fear,” André told Victoria Buzz. 

“It’s really about awareness.”

André has taken numerous self-defence and martial arts training but realized that most of these practices are largely designed for male bodies. So she has designed several programs for female physiology using what she has learned. 

“I cannot fight male strength with my strength,” said André. “That will not work.”

“It’s why there is a paradigm thought in women and girls that we’re too weak or we’re too small, so we cower.”

“I have seen the techniques that men use and readjusted these for women to teach how to use your entire body to defend yourself, using these techniques.”

André conducts her business and seminars mostly in a private environment to provide an added layer of safety with her clients. 

She has a ‘mobile dojo’ that she brings with her to instruct young girls and women in places like their own living rooms, backyards, garages to make them feel safe. André says lots of her clients are mothers who get their children’s friend group together to learn alongside their peers in a comfortable environment.

Recently she has also partnered with the Capital Regional District (CRD) to offer her courses publicly in their 2023 programming. 

Her programming and courses are being offered in a couple of communities throughout Greater Victoria because the CRD has recognized the importance of André’s vision and teachings. 

Here’s when Sixth Sense Self Defence’s CRD courses are taking place:

André teaches from a trauma-informed point of view and strives to create a safe space amongst her clients in an environment that has potential to be triggering for women who are survivors of assault. 

André’s devotion to the subject matter she teaches was so clear and apparent, she really wants to provide women, girls and female identifying individuals with everything they need to survive in a world that can be a dangerous place.   

“I feel a great responsibility as an older woman to give this information to kids because they’re just going to say, ‘why didn’t anybody tell us?’” André told Victoria Buzz.

“I can just weep sometimes at what a privilege it is to share this information.”

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