TOMASZOW MAZOWIECKI, Poland (AP) — Poland's defense minister officially launched self-defense courses for women on Saturday, saying that training by military instructors will increase individual and national security.
Antoni Macierewicz has repeatedly stressed that the nation's security has decreased amid neighboring Russia's assertiveness. He is strengthening various forms of national defense and recently added a new military force, the Territorial Defense, which should be operational early next year.
Macierewicz insisted that the no-weapons self-defense courses for women have to do with their personal security and not with military defense. But he said that well-trained women will contribute to national security.
The armed forces are sharing their expertise in order to "increase the security of individual persons and of the state," he said.
Macierewicz spoke in the central town of Tomaszow Mazowiecki, where the nationwide courses were launched with training for about 30 Polish women aged over 18. In jogging attire, they exercised with male and female army trainers to test defense grips and blows.
One of them, Jadwiga Kotynia, said she would use the skills for the nation's benefit, if needed.
"In the times we live in there might be such need. The more people are well-trained, the better for the country," she said.
Macierewicz said that tens of thousands of women have signed up for such training in 30 cities, but there was no room for all of them.