Dozens of women gathered in a large studio on Wednesday in Charlotte County to learn from a team of skilled instructors that have taught thousands of adults the best techniques to protect themselves when situations turn dangerous.
These heart-pounding incidents can happen when you least expect them. For instance, if you are walking to your car after shopping, you may have your hands full of packages and your keys in your purse. Suddenly, a stranger approaches in a threatening manner.
Graduates of the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office’s Self Defense for Women class will feel more prepared in that situation. The program has gone on for 18 years. It is taught by Al Shuman and his staff from ATA Black Belt Academy.
Shuman said he has taught between 3,000 to 4,000 women as part of this program in Charlotte County.
“I want them to be self-confident and not be a victim of assault,” Shuman said.
CCSO Sheriff William G. Prummell Jr. considers this class critical to keep citizens in the county safe and secure.
Tammy Wilkie, a Community Affairs Specialist at CCSO, coordinates the class. Wilke coordinates about four classes a year. Each of these classes has around 50 students. She is proud of the progress the participants make.
Here is one of the self-defense moves taught in the class:
Ida Chisamore, who lives in Port Charlotte, was attending her first class on Wednesday evening. She found the class helpful.
“I won’t be frightened and I’ll be able to reach back and protect myself,” Chisamore said.
If you missed the class on Wednesday, Wilkie said there are more opportunities to enhance your self-protection skills. Classes will be scheduled for later in the year. To sign up, visit its website.
While the women started the class a little bit reserved and quiet, it did not take much to get them motivated. The noise level and increased enthusiasm were easily measurable.
“When the women leave,” Wilkie said, “I know they are much more confident and aware of their surroundings.”