Defending oneself is not only physical, it’s how the person carries himself or herself, according to the hosts of free self-defense classes offered this month in South Lake Tahoe.
Learning to prevent an assault can be just as important as knowing the techniques to fight back and escape, said South Lake Tahoe police detective Doug Sentell, who has hosted classes in conjunction with Live Violence Free for the past several years.
Live Violence Free is holding two classes as part of its recognition of April as both Sexual Assault Awareness and Child Abuse Prevention months.
The self-defense instruction is part assertiveness training designed to deter an attack, and part basic moves someone can do to escape attacks like chokes or bear hugs, said Sentell, a martial artist and defensive tactics instructor at the department.
Seemingly simple actions like being aware of your surroundings and making eye contact with strangers can go a long way to deterring attacks and preventing someone from becoming a victim, said Diana Meza Cabrera, outreach coordinator with Live Violence Free.
If deterrence doesn’t work, basic moves that can be remembered at a time of panic are invaluable, Sentell said.
The defense classes are open to everyone, but are primarily directed at women. He said they are designed for all age groups.
“They can have zero skill level and still participate,” Sentell said.
Sentell especially encouraged young women to attend the classes. Teenagers that have attended the classes in the past have taken away skills that could very well prevent them from being victimized in the future, he said.
This is the first year the classes will be offered at Escobar Training Grounds and with Training Grounds instructors, Sentell said.
The training facility, Live Violence Free and the police department will host the second of two free self-defense class April 19 from 5-8 p.m. Escobar Training Grounds is located at 972 Tallac Ave.