Sheriff’s defense class teaches women safety tips
How would you defend yourself in case of an attack?
A group of women who attended the self-defense class Saturday at the Bossier Sheriff’s Office substation on Viking Drive in Bossier City know just how – break the knee, scrape the shin, stomp the foot and run.
The self-defense class is a free program offered to women in the community who want to learn various, effective methods of defending themselves in a dangerous situation.
Lt. Daniel Talley, a self-defense instructor, said the class focuses on ways to keep women safe, signs to look for in an attacker, how to be “street smart” and not be the victim.
“During the holiday season, women are targeted and have the potential for being victims,” Talley said. “An attacker is going to target the weakest victim, but there are ways to not be that target.”
The first hour of class is a discussion of various topics, including the importance of shopping in groups, being more aware of their surroundings and even the way they dress. Then, the class took to the mat for physical demonstrations on the proper way to strike, kick and ground defense moves.
Lori Rayborn of Bossier City took the class for two reasons. As the mother of two teenage daughters and a friend to someone who was a victim of a crime, Rayborn said it’s important that she take what she learned back to those close to her.
“I want my daughters to be aware that it can happen, but have the knowledge of what they can do if it does happen,” Rayborn said.
Talley said it’s important to remember that the key to self-defense is making initial contact then creating enough space between you and the attacker to make a quick getaway.
“We stress that this is defense, not offense. After a couple of strikes, you need to get away,” Talley said. “Don’t keep engaging with the person. Get away quickly and go for help.”
He added that there may not be obvious signs of an attacker. Instead, he said it’s best to simply follow your gut instinct.
“We already have the God given ability to realize when something isn’t right,” Talley said. “Don’t keep doing something if doesn’t feel right.”
Because men are built different than women, Talley said they discourage women from going “toe-to-toe” with an attacker. However, Talley added that there are no rules when it comes to fighting for your life.
“If someone is attacking you, you need to be just as aggressive in order to get away,” Talley said. “We’re building up a mindset that they are physically capable of defending themselves.”
Sgt. Sarah Rhodes, Saturday’s self-defense instructor, said their focus should be on surviving.
“Do what you have to do to get home,” Rhodes told the group. “Nothing is off limits when someone is trying to kill you.”
Rayborn urged women of all ages to be educated and aware of the dangers.
“You never know when you will be the victim of a violent crime,” she said. “It’s not here to create a sense of paranoia. It’s there to create awareness and an opportunity for women to learn to protect themselves.”
Talley said spreading awareness about women’s self-defense is their goal with the free classes.
“It doesn’t stop here. They should always be thinking of ways to not be the victim,” Talley said.
Self defense tips for everyone
- Always be aware of your surroundings.
- When shopping at night, park in well lit areas.
- Have your keys in hand prior to leaving a store.
- Scan the area before approaching your car.
- Avoid situations that may put you in danger.
- Trust your instincts.
- If attacked, create distance and noise.
- Never give up or quit.