Xtreme Tae Kwon Do at Ultima Fitness in Wellington hosted a Women’s Self-Defense Clinic on Saturday, Oct. 10.
Led by seventh-degree black belt Grandmaster Gustavo Pope, along with master instructor Ryan Maass, the clinic began with how to get away when someone has you by the wrist.
“It’s very important for all women, children and men to be able to protect themselves,” Pope said.
The clinic was designed to help attendees learn just that. “It empowers them,” Pope said. “If there’s a possibility of being attacked, it gives them the ability to defend themselves.”
Pope and Maass helped the class, demonstrating, answering questions and showing the proper form.
After the group was comfortable with escaping from one wrist being held, everyone advanced to freeing themselves when both wrists are held.
The key to self-defense, Pope said, is being aware. Paying attention to your surroundings is important, he explained, noting that people tend to pay more attention to their electronics when out and about than their surroundings.
Pope explained that if you notice that someone is following you, a good method is to stop and ask them, in a direct manner, if they are following you. Sometimes, just being noticed is enough to deter a would-be attacker.
Awareness provides the element of surprise. A potential attacker is going to assume that you aren’t aware and are unable to defend yourself. Knowing how to get away if someone is holding your wrists and how to free yourself from someone attempting to hold you against a wall or someone who has dropped you to the ground is imperative, Pope said.
Recognizing a dangerous situation makes you safer, he explained, because you are then aware of the dangers and won’t be blindsided.
Some of the most vulnerable spots on the human body, are the nose, chin, groin, outside upper thigh and any soft parts of the body, Pope explained. Though poking someone in the eyes is unpleasant, if it helps you to get away, you do it, he said. Defending yourself and getting to safety is the goal.
Though the best thing would be to never need to use the tools taught in a self-defense class, having them in your arsenal helps you to be safer and could potentially mean the difference between life and death.
“Be ready to defend yourself with as much power as the person attacking you is using,” Pope said. “You can’t be concerned about their well-being.”
The attacker certainly isn’t concerned with your well-being, he explained, so why give them the same courtesy?
“Sticking your finger in someone’s eye is gross, but too bad,” he said. “That person is trying to hurt you. If you have to do it to defend yourself, do it.”
Physical and mental preparation is another key to staying safe, Pope added.
By the end of the clinic, attendees knew how to escape if someone was holding them by the wrists, how to escape when pinned to a wall, how to defend themselves when on the ground, how to disable an attacker long enough to get help and more.
“You want to go home at the end of the day,” Pope said. “If some crazy guy wants to steal your car or to steal your purse, you want to be able to defend yourself with enough power that you’re going to be able to go home.”
For more information about future classes, call (561) 795-2823 or visit www.ultimafitness.com.
ABOVE: Grandmaster Gustavo Pope and master instructor Ryan Maass (center) with participants in the recent Women’s Self-Defense Clinic at Xtreme Tae Kwon Do.