Free Assault Resistance Training/Women's Self Defense

Printer-friendly versionThis past Saturday morning was cold and blustery. There was threat in the air -- the threat of an icy winter storm. Inside the "Oriental Martial Arts College": dojang on Brice Rd. in Reynoldsburg, more than thirty women gathered to learn how to combat a very different kind of threat -- the threat of physical assault by an attacker. These women had braved the weather to attend the first of a six class series of Assault Resistance Training (ART) taught by Sr. Grandmaster Joon Pyo Choi, Sr. Instructor Kelly Smith, and Instructors Sung Hak Kim, Mike Pickering, and Ray Schaeffer. Grandmaster Choi began the class by talking to the attendees about assault resistance. One of the most fundamental ideals the Grandmaster imparted on the students is that assault resistance is designed to allow them to be safe, to allow them to evade or escape from an attacker, and to stop the attack quickly. He explains the mentality of the attacker, why attackers target women, and simple body language that may thwart and attacker before he even attacks. The class is learning several Taekwondo self defense basics. They are learning proper stances in order to always have good balance and be effective in their defense. "One of the simplest defense moves a woman can do when she feels threatened, is to simply turn the body into a 'closed' stance", the Grandmaster states. This presents the narrowest target to an attacker, and protects the vital points of a woman's body. The class learns several different kinds of strikes, including punches, kicks, open hand strikes, finger rakes, and grabs. In particular, the instructors helped the students learn to make a proper fist by tightly curling their fingers and locking their thumbs over the knuckles of the first two fingers. Grandmaster Choi explains to the class the five most vital points on a body that will help the students slow down or incapacitate an attacker in order to get away. These points include the side of the knee, the groin, the solar plexus, the throat, and the face. The Grandmaster encourages the women to "stare an attacker in the face, kick them in the groin, then knee them in the nose when they double over." Later he tells them, if one kick isn't enough, "men have two balls, kick them twice. Two balls, two kicks!" This particular piece of advise gets strong laughter from the women. After discussing each topic, Grandmaster Choi leads the class through exercises to practice what they've just learned. The instructors circle through the class to provide encouragement and help explain forms and techniques if a student struggles. Puzzled looks turn to thoughtful understanding and finally -- in a number of students -- full face grins as the women begin to enjoy the sense of empowerment. After the class finishes, several of the women comment not just on how helpful the class was, but on how good of exercise it was. "The class exercises were better for me than my physical therapy. My sore back and shoulder didn't hurt for two days after the class," said Jacqueline Leary when she arrived for the second class the following Saturday. OMAC is offering the first six session course "Assault Resistance Training I" free to all women in Central Ohio without obligation. Classes are taught at several of the OMAC branches around the area, and at different times. Please visit for a complete list of times. The next six week session starts February 28. After the first six lessons, women wishing to continue their training may pay a nominal fee for the ART classes, or join a full Taekwondo training program.