Classes give PEACE through self-defense

Instruction tailored to students, owner says
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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An Auburn based organization that promotes peace is giving residents a chance to learn how to protect themselves. PEACE for Families is offering free self-defense classes beginning this Saturday. The nonprofit organization, which strives to help victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, is teaming up with Woodall’s Self-Defense in Newcastle. “PEACE for Families is all about prevention, and with domestic violence and sexual assault being so prevalent, we want to give them the tools to not become victims in the first place,” said Amanda Kodet, community affairs associate for the organization. Kodet said one in six women and one in 33 men are the victims of attempted or completed rape. One in four women will experience domestic violence. The classes are open to anyone in the community ages 12 and up. Those interested should contact PEACE to register, Kodet said. Caitlin Mooney, an instructor at Woodall’s, said the classes would involve instruction in basic strikes and kicks and the concepts behind them, as well as awareness about posture when standing. “Such as not putting your hands in your pockets when you are in a nervous situation,” Mooney said. The classes will also include instruction and education about groundwork, which is rape-defense oriented. Mooney said classes end with a “what if” scenario where students have to think about how they would defend themselves in certain situations. Mooney said she would encourage everyone to learn self-defense, because it can be used in a variety of situations. “It’s not just about being raped,” she said. “It’s about things like road rage or someone wanting your purse. It’s not just the thought of rape. It’s any kind of violent crime that can occur. Sometimes it’s important because it’s the only option you have.” Conrad Woodall, owner and instructor at Woodall’s Self-Defense, said his business teams up with all the local organizations that work with victims of sexual and domestic violence. The classes are set up to not only teach self-defense but to educate the community about why it is done and how much it is needed. “Our program is based on a new model for self-defense,” Woodall said. “It’s designed to be the first step in prevention and the final step in recovery. The way we teach our program is we believe self-defense is age, cultural and gender specific. For women, women get attacked and men get into fights. The dynamics for teenage boys are different from teenage girls. All of that is covered in the class.” Instruction is tailored to the person learning it and can even accommodate for physical disabilities, Woodall said. “There is a lot of education behind it besides just punching and kicking,” he said. “We talk a lot about the social and gender issues that are the precursors to violence.” Woodall said he hopes the classes will help clear up some misconceptions. “Our main purpose is just to get the prevention education information out there and to help people understand there is a difference between self-defense and movie martial arts,” he said. Angela Briggs, a third-degree brown belt at the center, said the instruction allows you to analyze a situation quickly and act how you need to in order to protect yourself. “What it is, you kind of learn to think on the spot versus your natural reaction, which may not be a good one,” Briggs said. “We think about it and then we know. It becomes really natural, and that is part of the training.” Kodet said the organization has seen dating violence increase with teens, and she is hoping youth will also get involved in these classes. “I’m looking forward to people in our community connecting with their own power,” Kodet said. “Hopefully this will show people just what they are capable of. It seems like empowerment really goes hand in hand with self-defense, and that goes right along with our core at PEACE.” Reach Bridget Jones at ------------------------------------------------------- PEACE for Families self-defense classes What: Free classes on the first Saturday of each month beginning this Saturday When: 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday Where: Woodall’s Self-Defense, 9250 Cypress Street, Newcastle Age requirement: 12 years old and up Registering: There are 30 spots in each class. To register call PEACE at (530) 823-6224