View Full Version : Self-defense courses teach preparedness...I guess

8/23/2007 9:28am,
Self-defense courses teach preparedness

By JILL SCHRAMM, Staff Writer

Self defense begins with self confidence, say local instructors who train people to protect themselves.

Chelsey Theusch of Minot, demonstrates an advanced self-defense move with instructor Troy Berger at Golden Dragon Martial Arts.

Incidences of violence and attempted violence in the Minot area and the state this past year have drawn attention to the issue, particularly for women. While martial arts instructors say that hasn’t necessarily translated into increased demand for self-defense courses, the incidents are on the minds of students signing up for new courses being offered by James and Shannon Massey at Magic Martial Arts and Self Defense Systems.

“It definitely comes up in all our classes,” Shannon Massey said. “It’s definitely had an impact.”

According to Massey and other self-defense instructors in Minot, women who are trained in recognizing and avoiding potential threats are much less likely to ever become victims.

The main goal at ATA Black Belt Academy’s self-defense seminars is to develop the behaviors and confidence that make women less likely to be targeted by attackers, said owner Dan Merck.

“They are looking for an easy victim,” Merck said. “If you can prove to be someone who is self confident and will fight back, they will just go find somebody easier.”

Self defense is tied to preparedness, he added. A person who is prepared is less likely to panic or freeze in fear.

“It’s the panic and the freeze that makes you a victim in an attack,” Merck said.

ATA has no self-defense seminar currently scheduled, but periodically conducts courses at its academy. It also offers courses for out-of-town groups that wish to schedule in their communities.

The Masseys started a self-defense course in April for women and teens. The first three-hour class in a four-part series of courses teaches the basics of self defense. The one class can be all that a woman needs to protect herself in most situations, Shannon Massey said.

The initial course focuses on awareness of surroundings, handling verbal approaches and preventing a physical attack.

“If you have gotten to the physical part – where someone physically attacks you – there are a lot of things you missed along the way,” Massey said.

Training in subsequent classes in the series are more physical and technical than the basics offered in the first class.

“The first class is very tried-and-true techniques that are easy,” Massey said.

“It’s not kicking and punching. A lot of people think self defense is kicking and punching and knowing how to fight,” she said, adding that in reality, “It’s doing everything to avoid having to do that.”

The course is designed to give women a plan so if they face situations that appear dangerous, they don’t panic but can see a way out, Massey said.

Magic City Martial Arts and Self Defense Systems has been offering classes about twice a month. When employers schedule a group class for employees, Magic City also will credit the company’s sponsorship in opening a free class for a matching number of students from the community.

Magic City is located in the ASK Fitness building in north Minot.

Golden Dragon Martial Arts in downtown Minot offers a self-defense course as part of its regular programming. Participants can take classes up to three times a week for as long as they wish. Troy Berger, head instructor, said students continue to learn and perfect skills throughout their time in the courses.

The self-defense course skips the formalities of other martial arts classes at Golden Dragon, he said. The course focuses on flexibility, strength training, proper techniques and speed.

Berger said he steers away from techniques that require manhandling an opponent because it’s not realistic. Most violent criminals will be physically difficult to take down, he said.

Rather, the approach is to temporarily disable an attacker as quickly as possible so you can escape, he said.

“If they can’t see, they can’t fight. If they can’t breathe, they can’t fight. That’s pretty much what I teach them – how to take away that fight,” Berger said. “And make lots and lots of noise. Usually if somebody wants to hurt a woman, they don’t want it to be a big struggle.”

The self-defense course at Golden Dragon is geared to women, but men can and have attended. Couples have come together. The class is open to students ages 15 and older.

Merck said the primary reason people sign up for martial arts classes is for fitness, but virtually all students who have taken courses at his academy list self defense as a reason for choosing martial arts to get in shape.

ATA offers a grappling course, which offers training in ground fighting, which is popular with men who have an interest in self defense. The women’s self-defense course is less physical but offers instruction in ways to use striking and kicking. It also teaches techniques to release oneself if grasped by an attacker.

ATA’s course teaches women to maintain a “safety stance” that keeps them a distance away from a threatening person. Participants learn not to be threatened into going somewhere with an attacker who wants to control by environment and find a place that’s safe for him.

The course also encourages people to keep physically fit and strong. Fitness not only boosts confidence, Merck said, but can improve the odds in an attack, even if it’s simply in having the stamina to run away.



8/24/2007 5:12am,
Chelsey Theusch of Minot, demonstrates an advanced self-defense move with instructor Troy Berger at Golden Dragon Martial Arts.

Man, doesn't the guy holding the bag look a lot like phil elmore? Dang, do I feel sorry for him.

bad credit
8/26/2007 8:58pm,
Heh, I was born in Minot, North Dakota. I had to go back up there about a month ago for my grandma's funeral. I started a thread on the Throwdown page asking if anybody wanted to train or roll while I was stuck up there for a week. Nobody replied. It's too bad, there's a couple of schools that do MMA up there. I woulda loved to spar these Golden Dragon asshats, too.

8/26/2007 10:22pm,
I didn't read it, but I saw "ATA" "advanced self-defense move" and that picture all in one thread, and I actually LOLed.

8/27/2007 11:16pm,
Are you saying a flying front jump kick is not a valid self-defense move?

8/28/2007 3:26pm,
I'd say with that amount of weight behind it, it's gotta deal some damage.

8/28/2007 3:42pm,
I want to meet an ATA instructor that is qualified to teach groundfighting.