Kickboxing world champion gives muggers a taste of their own medicine
A PAIR of hapless muggers got more than they bargained for when they jumped a woman in an Islington street – only to find out she was a former world kickboxing champion in no mood to surrender.
The hooded thugs lunged at Sophie Pittaway as she walked along St Peter’s Street, Islington, at 11.15pm last Thursday while texting her partner.
They beat her around the head and tried to snatch her phone, but 20 years of martial arts training kicked in and the 38-year-old fitness trainer unleashed a volley of kickboxing moves that sent the stunned youths desperately running for cover.
Ms Pittaway, who lives in De Beauvoir and runs KICK – a kickboxing, Thai boxing and yoga training space in Micawber Street, Hoxton – said: “They were punching me in the head and neck but with my background I was able to stop myself falling to the ground and fight back.
“I kicked and punched them and one of the guys obviously got quite scared because he ran off. But the other one still wanted my phone, which was lying on the floor. There was a momentary stand off when we were both looking at each other deciding what to do.
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“I thought about reaching down to grab the phone but I didn’t want a knife in my back so I let him grab it and kicked him hard as he bent down.
“He then ran off and I chased him down the street to make sure they were gone and that I was safe.”
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Ms Pittaway, who was crowned World Kickboxing Association Champion 12 years ago, was left without a phone and with bruising to the back of the head and neck. But she knows things could have much worse, and says everyone should learn to defend themselves.
“We all know the sorts of things that go on in London,” she said. “But a bit of exercise and self-defence training means that when something does happen you are alert and are naturally able to protect yourself.
“Luckily I didn’t end up knifed, but a girl who was skinnier or more brittle than me would have been on the floor straight away and could well have ended up in very serious trouble.”