More reflections on self-defense class and personal safety;
class offers information on a variety of self-defense tactics
Jessica L Szabo
Silver Pinyon Journal
28 May 2009
WINNEMUCCA —As positive responses to the women’s self-defense class recently taught by Instructor Paul Montenegro continue to circulate, students continue to reflect on the importance of the lessons he taught them.
“The class was so much more than I had expected it to be. I had expected a lot of instruction and not a lot of participation, but Paul really included us in everything and kept us active. It was a lot of fun,” said class participant and CAASA (Humboldt County Community Advocates Against Sexual Assault) Co-Coordinator Billie Wirthlin.“Before class started, Paul asked us if there was anything specific we wanted to learn and included our requests in the program. A couple of the participants asked about what to do if a gun is on us. The instructor showed us how to effectively get the gun away in order to get away. The girls also wanted to know what can be done if they are attacked from behind and caught in a choke-hold.”
While the class did include plenty of direct instruction on how to physically fight back if the need should arise, it also taught that the best solution is to avoid or escape a situation before anyone has a chance to attempt any physical harm. “The goal is to avoid or get away from a dangerous situation. However, if you can't it is important that you fight back.. Paul taught us how to effectively do this and gave us the chance to test it out - on him,” Wirthlin explained.
She further explained that the class also addressed some of the myths that continue to be passed around about self defense and personal safety. For example, most women have received the e-mail warning that potential attackers look for women wearing their hair in a ponytail, or wearing overalls or tops with straps. While people who are planning to assault others do look for vulnerabilities, keeping safe is not as simple as leaving one’s hair down or choosing an outfit without straps.
“The Girl's Fight Back DVD discussed this issue,” Wirthlin stated. “They say it is more about attitude and being in a dangerous situation such as walking alone. GFB and Paul stressed the importance of making eye contact with those around you. The criminals want someone who will be an easy target. Our goal as women is to become hard targets. Walk with purpose, pay attention to your surroundings, stay in groups and make eye contact.”
Anyone who missed the class will be given the opportunity to attend a second session in Humboldt County.
“I had so much fun and learned so much that I have and will continue to suggest it to others,” Wirthlin said. “I believe a lot of women can benefit from taking this class - and they will enjoy it too!”
Check the front page of Silver Pinyon Journal for dates, times, and places for upcoming sessions. We will post this information as soon as it is made available