Thursday November 6th at 7pm we will host a class on runner safety tips and also have Thorn of the Rose Self Defense here to go over some self defense tactics. Cost is $5 and RSVP firstname.lastname@example.org
A self-defense class aimed at promoting confidence and a feeling of security on the roads, will be held Thursday as part of National Running Safety Month.
The event, sponsored by Fleet Feet Sports Montgomery, will provide self-defense instruction by Debbie Baxter Robison of Thorn of the Rose Self Defense. Robison is a certified blackbelt instructor in the art of Bujinkan Ninjutsu. The class is open to everyone.
“When you’re out running, you’re away from home,” Robison said. “You’re out in public ... you want to change up your route, the time that you run. You don’t want to run with your jewelry on. Don’t listen to your music; keep your focus. A lot of people do use their runs for an escape.
“And you need to know some techniques.”
If they run alone, women need to know that they can be out and also be safe, said LePret Dickinson Williams, training program coordinator at Fleet Feet Sports Montgomery.
The self-defense course, she said, is “something we wanted to do. The time is changing, and you don’t have to run when it is dark ... but you can still be safe on your runs after dark.”
In 1988, Robison began teaching self-defense classes for women after noticing many of the female students were less active while working at a martial arts school she owned with her husband, according to her website.
During the program, she teaches attendees basic steps to take in a situation that requires self-defense, including tactics to use during a wrist grab, choking scenario, carjacking, ground fight, knife attack and more.
Williams hopes the women gain self-confidence and the tools they will need to be out on the roads alone.
“Mainly it is about awareness,” Robison said. “That fits in to everything. What gets you mentally, gets you physically. For example, if you’re driving to work and you don’t remember getting there ... then something has you mentally.”
She said people learn a lot by listening.
“They call it women’s intuition,” she said. “But men have it, too, but they don’t pay attention to it. The best way to win a fight is not have one. Having the technique is an option. If you’re living and breathing, you did something right.”
Want to go?
WHAT: Run Safe, presented by Thorn of the Rose Self Defense
WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday
WHERE: Fleet Feet Sports Montgomery, 2934 Carter Hill Road, 356-5412
For more information on Thorn of the Rose, visit online at thornoftheroseselfdefense.com, or call 669-ROSE (7673)
Tips for runners
• Don’t wear headphones; use your ears to be aware of your surroundings.
• Carry identification that includes name, phone number, blood type and any medical information.
• Carry a cellphone; wear reflective gear; run against traffic.
• Trust your intuition — this goes for a person and an area; react on your intuition if something tells you a situation is not “right.”
• Alter/vary your running route.
• Write down or leave word of the direction of your run. Tell friends and family of your favorite running routes.
• Ignore verbal harassment and do not verbally harass others. Use discretion in acknowledging strangers. Look directly at others and be observant, but keep your distance and keep moving.
• CALL POLICE IMMEDIATELY if something happens to you or someone else, or you notice anyone out of the ordinary. It is important to report incidents immediately.
Self-defense starts with self-esteem -- it starts with whether a woman feels she is worthy to defend herself.
If she does, she will do what it takes to guard her body and will learn when to fight off an attacker -- and when not to -- said Debbie Baxter Robison, a self-defense instructor at The Armory Learning Arts Center.
"I take protecting the mind very seriously," she said. "If you don't know how to protect your mind, he'll have your body. You protect your mind by having a choice."
A few days after a 35-year-old female runner reported to police she was attacked June 8 in Prattville while running on Fairview Avenue (Alabama 14) near Jasmine Trail, I met with Robison.
Police reported the female runner fought off her attacker, and I wanted to learn what other women could do to help themselves if they found themselves in a similar situation -- while running or otherwise.
The woman in Prattville reported to police a black male, about 6 feet tall, approached her, grabbed her around the neck and threw her to the ground. It was reported the woman scratched the suspect and he got up and fled.
When defending yourself, two things are needed, Robison said: figuring out you're valuable, and learning self-defense techniques to protect yourself.
The problem, she said, is that sometimes women are afraid of harming others and are afraid of looking masculine.
"They are afraid of what they look like and what people think about them," Robison said. "My message to anyone -- if an attacker or an abuser can get you mentally, then they can get you physically. Anytime someone has your attention, they have you."
Twice a week, Robison instructs self-defense classes for women to let them know they have a choice in all things. The next six-week class begins Tuesday.
In class, three main components are taught: the first two are to be aware and to know your exits/weapons. And if those two aren't applied, then Robison teaches the women physical techniques.
"You always want to use the exit in which you entered because you're familiar with what's on the other side," she said. Weapons, she added, can be a pen, a chair and even a notebook.
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"There is a physical weapon that is not part of you, but is with you at all times," Robison added. "You can not escape it -- the ground. Take what you have grabbed on the opponent and put it on the ground. Take him to it. Let gravity be your friend."
The main resistance Robison receives from her classes are from women who have been attacked because it makes them relive the event.
"I have to earn their trust," she said. "I'm not teaching anyone to be paranoid, but I'm teaching them they have a choice. There's a time to go along, and a time to fight.
"If it saves your life, then deal with the baggage. Your family wants you home. You do what you have to do to get home."
For more information, or to register for classes, Robison can be reached at 669-7673
"You can't rely on your gun, your husband, your dog or the police because it's happening right now ," said Robison, a certified Blackbelt instructor in the art of Bujinkan Ninjutsu. "If something happens, you don't have time. Knowing self-defense is what will get you out of there and keep you alive."
Robison said she first became interested in self-defense after her father was murdered in 1973. His case remains the oldest unsolved murder in Columbus to date. As a single mother of two boys, she wanted to be sure she was capable of protecting herself and her family.
In 1988, she began teaching self-defense classes for women after noticing many of the female students were less active while working at a martial arts school she owned with her husband.
"I noticed that the women were sitting on the sides, not participating," said Robison, "They're the ones that could end up victims so I decided to start a six week self-defense course."
During the program, Robison teaches attendees basic steps to take in a situation that requires self-defense, including tactics to use during a wrist grab, choking scenario, car jacking, ground fight, knife attack and more.
The class is open to anyone over the age of eight, and Robison said the majority of her students attend simply to learn how to protect themselves. However, there are those that have experienced one of the training scenarios firsthand and wants to feel more prepared.
"Everybody has a natural self-defense mechanism," said Robison, "they just may not know they have it. This is something a person has to be ready for. I feel like the good Lord sends me people who need it."
Among those with more than a general interest in the class is Tanzania George, the girlfriend of Montgomery's fourth homicide victim of 2013. George said her boyfriend's death is what influenced her to learn how to defend herself.
"My boyfriend's murder prompted me to take the course," said George. "It seems like every day someone is getting murdered in Montgomery. My reason for self-defense isn't to fight, I just want to be able to get away."
George's goal for the class echoes the teachings of Robison, who says the point of the class isn't to know how to fight, but to know how to escape the situation. She says her first advice to students is to listen to their instincts and leave when they feel uncomfortable.
"Your job is to take care of you," said Robison. "Pay attention to that gut feeling that tells you something's not right. The best way to win a fight is to not have one."
Classes are at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays at the Armory Learning Center. Enrollment into the six week course is $15.00 -For more information, For more information visit thier website at www.thornoftheroseselfdefense.com