Do you own a selfie stick? Do you love it? Do you flagrantly whip it out at any given opportunity? Are you “that” guy? Well, firstly, congratulations on your blinding self-confidence – not many people enjoy you very much. And secondly, make sure you remember that selfies are actually very dangerous. So dangerous, in fact, that they've already killed more people than sharks this year. You are playing a very, very risky game.
Luckily though, the people of Russia are thinking of you. In a bid to save your sorry, narcissistic skin, they've decided to start up a course devoted to “selfie stick” self-defense. Also known as “Monopod Fighting”, the class is offered to tourists and travellers who want to deter thieves – which I guess makes sense when you consider that you're basically waving around a really expensive smartphone on a stick.
“Unfortunately very often a selfie-stick is the only weapon a tourist has when travelling abroad, and it has the advantage of often being at hand,” explains the course's spokesperson Daria Lapshina. “A pepper spray or a stun gun in the handbag might also be effective, but by the time you've dug them out it will already be too late. A selfie stick on the other hand can be used instantly.”
The course only currently exists at Moscow's M-PROFI centre – and includes five classes that mix Thai boxing, martial arts and the personal experience of the organisers. And, while it may sound like a novelty, it's already proven so popular that nearly all the groups have been at maximum capacity.
“It presents many challenges because if you have a selfie stick in your hand, and an expensive mobile phone on the end of it, it might achieve the desired effect to beat the attacker with the phone end, but you smash the phone,” added an organiser. “We teach people to use the handles if the selfie stick has a phone attached, and it is a very effective defensive weapon.”