Self-defense seminar teaches techniques

Betsy Allen
435th Services Squadron

Punches, kicks, pressure points and situational awareness are only a few things offered at the Ramstein Northside Fitness Center’s monthly Women’s Self Defense Seminar.
“This four-hour, hands-on seminar emphasizes practicality and simplicity,” said Tom Mulczynski, Karate Tech International Black Belt, “Women do not have to rely on size or strength with these self-defense techniques.”
The next seminar takes place from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. May 22.
“Karate Tech is a uniquely American full-spectrum martial art, which includes techniques that cover all forms of self-defense, from kicking and punching to joint locks and manipulation to grappling, to the use of and defense against a variety of weapons,” said Mr. Mulczynksi.
Each month since February, these seminars have been successful with an average of 15 women in attendance.
After the course, seminar participants gave positive feedback about the hands-on aspect of the class and the realistic, close contact with the instructor in simulated attack situations. This combination provided a true learning experience for participants.
“This is the part that most participants liked the best or found the most useful. That and the punching, which was actually far and away their favorite part,” said Mr. Mulczynksi.
To perfect their technique and to practice being forceful in their own defense, women wore boxing gloves and repeatedly punched Mr. Mulczynski who wore a padded chest protector.
In the seminar, attendees practice the techniques with other participants, then apply them with power and force on the instructor until they successfully defend themselves to a final conclusion, said Mr. Mulczynski.
He also encourages the women to participate only to their comfort level.
“The seminar is designed both for first-timers and women who’ve taken previous seminars. Women can take only one seminar or take them month after month perfecting the techniques they have already learned and learning new ones each month,” Mr. Mulczynski added.
A unique aspect of the self-defense workshop was the 20-minute educational seminar by Capt. Joy Bourhill, chief of community social work, 435th Medical Operations Squadron.
Participants received a briefing on awareness of and dealing with violence against women. Captain Bourhill discussed the importance of confidence and situational awareness.
“I instruct women on how to use their voices and body language to avoid an escalation of (violation) into their personal space,” said Captain Bourhill. “Probably less than 20 percent of women fight their attacker, due to the fact that many women are not experienced in these techniques or are not exposed to this physicality the way men are or even women who have competed in contact sports.”
Captain Bourhill or a Life Skills social worker presents this information at the May 22 class as well, allowing participants a well-rounded approach to personal self-defense.
Participants finish the one-day course with renewed confidence, practical skills, new friends and a T-shirt to commemorate the experience.
There will also be an additional seminar June 26 for members who miss the May date.
While early registration is recommended, women can sign up until the beginning of the seminar as long as spaces are still available.
To register and for more information, call the Ramstein Northside Fitness Center at 480-8085/6444.