Into the Spotlight, sponsored by Huddersfield-based Scriba PR, highlights the inspirational work of Rebecca Kane who has launched a project to help combat violence against women.

Inspirational Rebecca Kane, a former world champion in three very different disciplines, is empowering women and teenage girls and wants to help change lives.

Huddersfield-based martial arts expert Rebecca, a world champion in Filipino stick fighting, Thai boxing and Irish dancing, is now helping combat the growing problem of violence against women.

Rebecca, 37, a martial arts teacher who runs Kane Academy in Marsh, has now launched a community interest company, New Direction Services CIC, to offer coaching in self-defence, empowerment and mental wellbeing techniques.

Rebecca has teamed up with the Violence Reduction Unit and Safer Kirklees, backed by the Deputy Mayor of West Yorkshire Alison Lowe – in charge of crime and policing in the county, to boost the confidence of young women aged between 13 and 25.

Called Self Defence and Empowerment for Women, the regular – and free – sessions are held at venues in Huddersfield. Outreach sessions have also taken place at local schools including Newsome Academy and Salendine Nook High School Academy.

The project is aimed at women living in the Greenhead ward in Huddersfield – centred on Birkby, Marsh and Paddock – but Rebecca hopes it will eventually cover the whole of Kirklees.

The murder of Sarah Everard, 33, by a serving police officer in London in March 2021 highlighted growing fears about the safety of women and led to greater awareness and a demand for action nationally and locally.

Rebecca said: “During lockdown there was a rise in domestic violence because couples were stuck at home together and any issues in the relationship were coming to the surface much quicker than they might have done.

“As partners were together 24/7 people’s true colours were coming to the fore and the mask drops.

“Crime against women is rising and the Deputy Mayor is determined to tackle misogyny and make the streets safer for women and girls.”

Self Defence and Empowerment for Women takes referrals from groups and organisations and women can also refer themselves.

As well as self-defence, Rebecca works on mindset with meditation techniques, goal-setting and the like.

“I have three world titles and I have adapted the psychology of sport to help with real life scenarios,” said Rebecca. “The idea is to reverse mindsets and help people take a new direction in life.

“My aim is that by this time next year we will have positively impacted the lives of between 2,000 and 5,000 young people but if I can turn just one life around that would be amazing.”

Rebecca launched Kane Academy in 2006 and continues to teach martial arts. She became Huddersfield’s first ever Irish dance world champion in 2017, a competition she won in memory of her late mother Marcella who first introduced her to Irish dancing aged six.

Rebecca was also honoured as one of the torchbearers for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Rebecca is now looking for local schools and sports teams who want to run four-week courses to help women in their group.

For more information on that or Self Defence and Empowerment for Women in general contact Rebecca on