From life-changing personal safety classes to educational courses dealing with a wide range of anti-social behaviours, Rotherham-based company Instincts Training blend the practical with the psychological to help equip individuals and organisations with what they need to navigate life’s challenges successfully.

Founded by Paul Bell, Director of Training, and supported by Dawn O’Hara, Director of Marketing and Business, the duo bring a wealth of experience to the table and provide a wide range of bespoke training courses which can cater for an equally diverse range of needs.

Paul has over four decades-worth of training in martial arts, with the last 17 years specifically dedicated to street self-defence/personal safety under the guidance of Europe’s leading experts. A respected authority in the field, this impressive background is complemented by his degree in Psychology (BSc Hons), giving him a deep understanding of human behaviour and decision-making.

Instincts Training

It’s by combining these areas of expertise that Instincts are able to offer something quite unique when it comes to self-defence training: a combination of physical techniques and psychological insight, the ability to understand yourself and those around you, while also fostering awareness of the space you’re in and how you can remain safe in it.

“A lot of people think self-defence is purely physical,” Paul tells unLTD. “In fact, 90% of it isn’t. It’s more about reading the warning signs, knowing how to successfully get away or prevent a situation before it gets physical. We don’t want people to fight; we want to teach them how to stay safe.”

With over 30 years of experience in retail management, and having experienced the verbal and physical abuse that frequently comes with such roles, Dawn, who is additionally accredited as a mental health first aider and has a number of education and training qualifications under her belt, is able to draw on first-hand experience when attesting to the importance of the training they offer.

“When funding was pulled in the retail sector for self-defence and personal safety training, it spurred us on to get our heads together and create a business which offered bespoke training sessions for companies with front-facing employees,” says Dawn. “Over time, what we do has developed and evolved. We now work with a wide range of sectors and individuals to help with everything from self-confidence and personal wellbeing to understanding the law around self-defence, risk assessments, empowering lone workers and de-escalating situations.”

“We don’t want people to fight; we want to teach them how to stay safe.”

By pooling their ideas, skills, education and combined life and work experiences, Instinct was officially set up two years ago with one shared goal between the founders: to make a positive difference to people’s lives. They pride themselves in offering bespoke courses tailored to the specific needs and preferences of their clients, ensuring that each individual or organisation receives training that is not only relevant but also maximally effective.

“If a client registers an interest, we’ll follow it up with a free consultation so we can sit down and work out exactly what we can provide. If things need tailoring to suit specific needs, we’re more than happy to do it,” says Paul.

Both are keen to point out the crucial link between what they do and improving people’s general wellbeing and personal development. “There have been studies showing that people who go through proper self-protection training receive a boost in their confidence, helping them to be more socially aware, outgoing and improving their general sense of wellbeing,” Paul explains. “The reason we’re called ‘Instincts’ is because we believe everyone has got this in them. We’ve all got it in us. Our job is to find it and bring it back out.”

Recognising that self-defence isn’t a one-size-fits-all concept, they offer a ‘Real Self Defence’ course personalised to various groups, including men, women, children, and individuals with physical restrictions.

Another of their key offerings, the ‘Empowering the Lone Worker’ course, addresses the unique challenges faced by those who work alone or in isolated environments. This training provides individuals with the skills and strategies needed to stay safe, confident and in control, even when facing potentially hostile situations or unexpected emergencies.

“A lot of people think self-defence is purely physical,” Paul tells unLTD. “In fact, 90% of it isn’t. It’s more about reading the warning signs, knowing how to successfully get away or prevent a situation before it gets physical.”

The ‘De-escalation’ course is another valuable resource offered. In a world where conflicts can escalate quickly, it teaches individuals how to communicate effectively and calmly in high-pressure scenarios, reducing the risk of violence and promoting peaceful resolutions.
‘Personal Safety’ is at the core of Instincts Training’s curriculum. This comprehensive course covers situational awareness, practical self-defence skills, and the ability to recognise and respond to potential threats. It empowers individuals to take control of their safety and make informed decisions in challenging situations.

However, that’s just a small taster of what’s on offer, and the holistic nature of their training has seen them work with a range of clients across the country: retail companies, corporate businesses, housing associations, schools, football academies, and many other places of work and education have all benefited from Instinct’s programme.

“We’re two years in and loving every session,” Dawn tells us. “You can see the difference being made and when you hear feedback about people feeling more confident in themselves, or being able to rely on themselves more, it’s a great feeling for us.”

With their tailored courses, expert trainers and – crucially – the added depth of psychological understanding that underpins it all, Instincts Training are providing individuals and organisations with the tools they need to thrive in life with increased awareness, resilience and confidence.

Trust your instincts and explore more at

You May Also Like