Self defense classes encouraged for Pine-belt citizens - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Self defense classes encouraged for Pine-belt citizens


The recent abduction and rape of a 21-year-old woman in Hattiesburg has motivated some women to learn how to react if they were in that type of situation.

Several places in Hattiesburg offer women's self-defense classes, including Gracie Jiu-jitsu of Mississippi.

Gracie Jiu-jitsu of Mississippi offers classes in Jiu-jitsu, and other forms of self-defense. Jiu-jitsu is a type of self defense that correlates with real-life attack situations such as rape and abductions.

Teacher of Jiu-jitsu Allen Hopkins believes these classes are very important to offer to the public.

"People don't know what to do in real situations like this, so I encourage everyone to take advantage of at least a few classes for self defense," Hopkins said.

Hopkins offers Jiu-jitsu classes just for women Monday through Thursday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. He even offers free workshops for women periodically throughout the year.

"I think it is the most important thing ever to be able to defend yourself; if you can't, it limits you in almost everything," Hopkins said.

Newlywed Courtney Ingle hopes to take advantage of these classes for various reasons.

"I'm interested in a self defense class because there's no way that someone can be with me all the time," Ingle said. "My husband and I don't like for me to go places after dark alone because it's not as safe as it once was."

Ingle knows the basics of self defense, but hopes to learn better techniques on protecting herself.

"The only precaution I can take now is being aware of my surroundings, being on the phone if I am alone while walking to my car, and if I am attacked, I guess all I have is a clenched fist with a car key to act as a knife," Ingle said.

The Martial Arts house located at the briar patch in Hattiesburg also offers self defense classes.

Assistant instructor of the Kung-Fu school Charles Odom encourages not only women, but men to take advantage of the self defense course.

"Simply put, any martial arts training can boost your confidence," Odom said. "When you combine confidence and situational awareness, it greatly reduces your chances of being a victim."

According to Odom, the Martial Arts house offers elf defense training every two weeks. Classes are offered Tuesday and Thursday beginning at 8 p.m.

Ole Miss student Meredith Evans hopes to take a class before she transfers to a new school.

"I don't want to ever be in the position of wishing I had taken them," Evans said. "If anything bad ever happens I want to look back knowing I did what I could."

The YMCA of Hattiesburg recently offered a new type of self defense class that was just introduced in recent years.

According to the Krav Maga Federation, Krav Maga is Hebrew for contact combat. It is a self-defense system that anyone can use regardless of size, strength, or fitness. Krav Maga emphasizes simple and practical techniques, real life scenarios, and intense training. It is the ideal self-defense system for use on the street - a place where no rules exist.

YMCA Health and Wellness Coordinator Nan Bryant recruited Krav Maga teacher Sam Tike of Memphis Tennessee to teach a one-day workshop at the center.

"Sam Tike has a dojo in Memphis, and is world renowned for abilities to teach Krav Maga," Bryant said.

Bryant said several members of the YMCA and Hattiesburg Police Force took the class, and benefited from it greatly.

"Women want to be more aware when things happen in our city, and they put themselves mentally in those situations and realize they wouldn't know what to do," Bryant said.

"It gives them the basic tools and sense of security in a situation where they need to defend themselves, and get away," Bryant said.

YMCA worker Ashton Somerville of Hattiesburg expressed interest in the next Krav Maga class.

"My mother does not even like the idea of my sister and I going to Wal-mart after 9 o'clock because of the way the world is now," Somerville said. "The class the YMCA offered was a hit, and I wouldn't mind taking a class."

Bryant hopes to schedule more Krav Maga classes at the YMCA in the fall.

Jones County also offers self-defense classes.

Robbie Suber of the Jones County Sheriff's department offers self defense classes periodically throughout the year. According to Suber, the upcoming class already has 50 registered attendants.

"It is important to help the county and citizens as much as we can, and keep them knowledgeable on how to protect themselves," Suber said.

The two-part three hour class will be held at the Jones County Sheriff's training facility.  

For more information on how to enroll in a self defense class, contact Gracie Jiu-jitsu of Mississippi at 601-818-2383, or The Martial Arts house at 1-228-217-5429. For Jones County classes, contact Robbie Suber at 601-422-9082.

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