A former police officer who left a 15-year career to follow her passion for fitness is now is going viral on TikTok for her self-defense techniques. Collating her police training and martial arts experience into bite-size safety tips, she is now helping others stay safe, one technique at a time.
At 47, mom of four Nichelle Laus, of Toronto, Canada, closed the doors of her gym amid the pandemic. In order to recover from her lost business, she partnered with her husband and another associate from across Canada to open a tactical supply shop for emergency services personnel in the same space that was her gym.
Additionally, she is also using her skills to empower others to defend themselves, in particular, women and children.
“Some of [the techniques] I knew already, because of my job,” Nichelle said in an interview with The Epoch Times. “We learn some techniques as officers: how to stand ground, how to always be aware of your situation and where you’re at, trying to remain calm, tactical communication to de-escalate situations.
“As soon as you lose control and you start freaking out, you go crazy, you can’t think straight,” she said. “So the most important thing is to stay calm, and really try and focus on that, so that you can design your next steps.”
As Nichelle’s arsenal of self-defense strategies grew, she turned to TikTok, a platform she had previously given up on as a fitness content creator.
“I started working with a girl who helped me come up with ideas,” she explained. “I did my own research as well. The [techniques] I do on TikTok, I want to say they’re ‘not fun’ … but, I always want to tell people, these can be realistic situations.”
Some of Nichelle’s most popular videos include: how to escape zip-ties, how to escape a chokehold, kids rope-tied to a pole, and duct-taped to a pole. She has amassed millions of views with her potentially lifesaving tips.
For Nichelle, self-defense was something that saved her own life when she was a teenager.
“I was sexually abused until I was 14 years old,” she told The Epoch Times. “I took a stand when I was 14; I said, ‘No more.’ It was a hard time in my life, and I turned to kickboxing and boxing to help me channel my anger.”
With all the help she received, Nichelle was determined that she wanted to pay it back and help others too, thus she decided to become a police officer.
Nichelle firmly believes that self-defense techniques could mean the difference between staying safe and becoming a victim. Some of her top tips include:
- “Try and be aware of your situation, and try to react quickly, because you don’t have a lot of time in a dangerous situation.”
- “If you are feeling uncomfortable in any situation, leave … and if you can’t leave, try to create witnesses.”
- “Your gut is always right. Trust those instincts, they’re there for a reason.”
- “Carry yourself with confidence: get the shoulders back, chest out, walk with purpose.”
Learning and practicing, says Nichelle, allows a self-defense formula to enter the subconscious and become “second nature.” Additionally, she also suggests keeping it simple, explaining that if a person learns too many moves and techniques, they can get really confused during a high-stress situation and they will end up forgetting.
Nichelle also suggests via an example how to get oneself out of a dangerous situation.
First, it’s important to ask: are they really following me? Check by crossing the road and seeing if they do the same, says Nichelle. Next, get out your cell phone and make a call. Start planning your escape by heading toward a well-lit area with lots of people, and make noise to alert witnesses.
As a mom to four karate-loving boys, Nichelle claims that 5-6 years old is the perfect age to start learning self-defense strategies. She also hopes to offer tailored self-defense classes for girls in the future.
“I want people to trust me, and they can trust me because I have experience,” she stated. “I think it’s very important that women like me teach other women [that] it’s okay to stand up for yourself … not only physically, but verbally.
“Say ‘No,’ say ‘Help me,’ say ‘Stop staring at me,’ say ‘Stop hurting me,'” she implored. “We, as women, need to use our voices and our skills more.”