GALLIPOLIS — Area women joined together Tuesday evening at the Elizabeth Chapel gymnasium to take some of their first steps into a world that says there is no rule but one: to survive.
Scott King, originally of Jackson County, has been traveling southern Ohio for the last few years, putting on seminars and private classes to demonstrate and teach the Israeli martial art, Krav Maga. Krav Maga was developed and used by Israeli security and military forces to be an easy to learn, quick and effective means of neutralizing an opponent in self-defense. Both King’s group, Southern Ohio Krav Maga, and Serenity House partnered to put on a free self-defense seminar for women interested in learning.
“When it comes to your life, there are no rules when defending yourself,” said King to students. “We are our own first responders. You may not be able to wait on help. The best defense is to not be in a bad situation, but if you have to do what it takes to make sure you and your loved ones make it through, do it.”
Students started learning simple techniques like how to throw a punch. Then they moved on to hammer fist strikes and open palm strikes. Next, they learned the importance of “punches in bunches” as King called it, using overwhelming aggression to keep an opponent on the defensive. Next came “knees in threes” where students would grab a fellow student and issue three knee strikes to a pad carried by their opponent. Then, students would maneuver their opponent about the room in footwork exercises. Groin kicks would follow knee strikes and then grab escapes.
Among their lessons, situational awareness was one of the more important items discussed. King said the ladies should make a habit of playing the “10-second game.” The exercise is meant to instill a habit of getting one to take stock of their surroundings, exits, potential weapons and individuals in the room that might make one uncomfortable. The instructor said oftentimes if one feels unsafe, there is a reason and that reason shouldn’t be ignored.
Serenity House is a nonprofit organization which serves as both a residential home and program seeking to assist women looking to escape rough situations such as domestic violence and to empower them in a new life direction.
Serenity House Director Marissa Metz has said she has already taken the class and felt it was something that could benefit all women.
“I liked learning how to escape or choke without actually being harmed or harming someone,” said Serenity House Victim Advocate Ashley Durst. “All of it was good to know for self-defense.”
“October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month,” Durst previously told the Tribune. “It’s important for women to protect themselves. (Learning self-defense) will give them a boost of confidence as well because they know that they can protect themselves if the need arises.”
“You hope you can give people some ideas and get them to understand concepts,” said King. “You’ve got to fight. You always hope that you don’t have to, but when you do, go all out.”
For more information and to become part of the class, the organization can be reached at 740-446-6752 or 800-942-9577. Metz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and Durst can be reached at email@example.com. Information can also be found at serenityhouseinc.weebly.com. Southern Ohio Krav Maga can be reached at its Facebook page.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.