Large group participates in free self defense classBy PAT BROWN,
The most important weapon you have is your mind so that is why it is important to remain calm and take charge of the situation.
Dr. Robin Williams, the primary instructor for a self-defense class for women held last week at the Magee Community Center, impressed the audience with that fact. In addition to Williams, Magee Police Chief Randy Crawford, Officers Matt Gipson, Mike Davis and Sean Cooper and Constable Chris Jones volunteered their time to help with the free training workshop.
Williams, who holds three separate black belts in different styles of the martial arts, is an instructor for military police as well as hand to hand defense for civilians. He told the crowd it is a good idea to carry a gun and knife but those are not always available so it is important to be able to defend yourself without a physical weapon.
He told the group the most important thing is to be aware of your surroundings. When you enter a building, make a mental check list as to where entry and exits are located. Look for situations where people are out of place like a man with a gun--what are they doing in a fast-food restaurant?
He said if you are in a big box store and you see something or someone supicious and they go out when you do, go back to the store. Stay inside until the people leave, or ask for assistance from the management to get to your vehicle.
Williams said to call the individual out and challenge him. For example, ask what they are doing by your car, but do it loud and assertively--acknowledge them in the store and challenge them. He said this response will tell them you are aware and could prevent something from happening.
Williams said that this is a time in our world where people must be willing to help others when they are in need. He stated, “You do not need to appear to be mild and meek; be loud and let others know that you may need help.”
He said one of the most important things is to “put your cell phone down and pay attention to your environment. Your attentiveness can prevent a situation from happening.”
He cautioned that things change once someone makes physical contact with you. Then you have natural weapons. “Use your fingers to claw them in the face. Use your fist, elbows and knees. The goal should be to free yourself and then flee the situation. Do not stay around to inflict pain; get out of the situation as quickly as possible. Running away as fast as possible is the best course of action,” he said.
Dr. Williams said that if you walk or exercise regularly away from home you should vary your schedule so that you are not doing the same thing on the same route every day. That way someone can’t observe you and make plans to abduct or to rob you.
Williams cautioned that if the situation involves an automobile do not allow yourself to be taken away from the scene with the attacker. They then have the opportunity to take you off somewhere that you may not be found. He added that if they plan to kill their victims it is better to force them to act where they can be located.
Williams and the volunteers allowed the group to practice some of the techniques that were demonstrated during the night.
Over 75 people of all ages attended the event last Tuesday night. The possibility of holding additional self-defense classes is being discussed, possibly during October.
The event was co-sponsored by Ferguson Federal Credit Union and The Magee Courier.