March, the women’s history month, saw the popularization of events that made the public more aware of the daily problems that women have to face. One of the main problems women face is fear of assault, and the Women’s Self Defense class aims to minimize that fear by teaching women how to protect themselves against potential attackers.
“Women, especially senior women, are one of the most vulnerable groups in the community,” said Rose Weimer, a Belmont resident. “It is important for women to be able to defend themselves if they are ever in any dangerous situation that would require them to do so.”
The class is taught by instructors from local martial arts school Urban Combat Reality Based Self Defense.
“We do not aim to teach you fancy techniques that you see on TV,” said Brian Strathdee, an instructor. “It’s all about your awareness of the situation, it’s all about seeing the threat in time and knowing what to do about it.”
Although the class was only two hours long, the women that showed up learned the most basic skills and concepts that would allow them to escape possible dangerous situations that might occur.
“You need to let yourself defend yourself,” said Strathdee. “In unknown situations, your brain would normally freeze and debate on what you need to do next. You want to avoid that, you do not want to deprive yourself of your chances to escape the situation.”
In many cases, the attacks are preventable if women are aware of their surroundings and pay attention to any potential dangers.
“You always need to be thinking of what could be around next corner,” said Strathdee. “You need to be almost paranoid about your safety, especially if you feel like something is off.”
The class aims to give women more confidence in their abilities to defend themselves and allows women to understand that they need to be able to react quickly and not compromise their safety in any dangerous situations.
“I decided to attend this class in the first place because I think it is important for women like me to feel safe,” said Weimer. “I think that learning how to defend myself would definitely allow me to do that.”
The class shows the main aspects of self-defense and breaks the myth that one needs to know everything about martial arts in order to defend themselves.
“The class mainly teaches how to respond to difficult situations,” said Nam Nguyen. “Correct and timely response is often what people lack when they are in dangerous situations. It is important to know how to defend yourself and not feel helpless.”
The techniques that were presented in the class were not new or anything out of the ordinary. Instead, the instructors picked some of the easy to grab techniques that everyone could learn quickly.
“I used to have [Strathdee] as my coach and I came in to help today because I believe in his methods,” said Nguyen. “He does not teach any fancy moves, instead the techniques that he teaches are actually very useful and applicable in everyday life.”