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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

'Fight or flight' not the only options

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

(Photo)
Clay County resident Lottie King prepares to kick black belt Justin Gibbens in the shin while Personal Defense Solutions Instructor Garry Howard watches at a recent self-defense class at the American Aikido Institute, 2 East National Ave., Brazil. Ivy Jacobs Photo. [Order this photo]
The "fight or flight theory" isn't a complete option, according to Personal Defense Solutions Instructor Garry Howard.

"When confronted with an abusive situation, it's not just about choosing to fight or flight, which means to physically run away and leave the scene," Howard recently told a group of women attending a self defense class at American Aikido Institute, 2 East National Ave., Brazil. "The response of flight can be done in two ways, either leaving physically or emotionally."

If frightened, Howard, who has studied and taught martial arts for 41 years and been in law enforcement for 31 years, said a person could emotionally freeze for a few moments before deciding to run away. Panic can induce a sense of powerlessness. It is those few moments that a person has to be prepared for.

"Everyone has the ability to learn how to defend themselves. It is not gender specific," he said. "Being prepared for those initial and crucial moments -- when faced with a situation where a person has to defend themselves by deciding to run or engage an attacker -- training pays off."

According to Howard, knowledge and confidence in a person's own ability is power.

"There is always a way to fight back," he said. "But first, lose one little word when it comes to self defense. That word is lady. You cannot be a lady and defend yourself."

When faced with a potentially abusive/unsafe situation, Howard explains the time for being considerate and well mannered is gone.

"You have to be dynamic and bold when confronted by a person who apparently doesn't care that they have violated your personal safety zone. You will also have to use some language you wouldn't normally consider. Criminals often use profanity and you need to be prepared to engage them with same-use language," he said, and then added that yelling no isn't enough either. "Just scream, as loud as you can scream. Or growl at them to throw them off balance."

Some other personal safety prevention tips to consider include:

* Believe your individual self is worth defending, you have value,

* Be aware of your surroundings at all times,

* Be willing to part with personal belongings in order to be safe,

* Choose the shortest routes when traveling,

(Photo)
Proving personal defense has no gender or age barrier, Personal Defense Solutions Instructor Garry Howard lifted Haley Mace so she could give a practice dummy an elbow to the chest during a recent self-defense class. Haley is the daughter of Jeremy and Jennifer Mace, Brazil. Ivy Jacobs Photo. [Order this photo]
* Travel in a locked vehicle, park in well lit areas,

* Always lock an unattended vehicle and check the back seat before getting into a car, and

* Never be a willing victim by pleading, it simply assures them of your helplessness.

Howard said it's OK to be frightened during an assault, but being calm, confident and assertive is usually more effective.

"You have the right to defend yourself. No one deserves to be a victim," Howard said. "However, you need to practice personnel safety to maintain your safety."

For more information about Personal Defense Solutions or the American Aikido Institute, contact Garry Howard at 448-8470 or Ghoward@americanaikido.com.


Using defense methods to remain S.A.F.E.

Howard teaches the S.A.F.E method during personal defense solutions:

* S, Secure yourself,

* A, Avoid trouble,

* F, Flee if possible, and

* E, Engage if necessary.

"You can't be polite when confronted," Personal Defense Solutions Instructor Garry Howard said. "You have to be loud, boisterous. Sure, you're not being nice, maybe even rude. Some people might even say you're being stuck up by not always offering to help someone, but you're safe. By being aware of your surroundings, you took charge of what was happening and may have potentially shut down a dangerous situation."

For more information about Personal Defense Solutions or the American Aikido Institute, contact Garry Howard at 448-8470 or Ghoward@americanaikido.com.



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