Free classes promote self defense

Woodall's Self Defense and Fitness partners with PEACE for families
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Editor
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It’s a scary world out there, but learning self-defense and assault avoidance techniques can be a lifesaver. Woodall’s Self Defense and Fitness has returned to Loomis and offers realistic self-defense classes for adults and children at their Swetzer Road facility. According to instructor Caitlin Mooney, the classes teach how to avoid becoming a victim and how to defend yourself if attacked. The studio also offers kids classes for 6- to 12-year-olds that teach what to do if bullied and what to do in the event of a stranger episode. She said Woodall developed a program that teaches specific avoidance techniques, what to do to prevent an attack and effective mixed martial arts to use in case of an attack. The business was started by Conrad Woodall, a retired Sacramento police officer, who is a 1990 Del Oro High School graduate and Loomis native. Woodall’s facility was originally located on Taylor Road, and moved back to Loomis in August after outgrowing its Newcastle location. PEACE for Families, a nonprofit organization to help victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, is teaming up with Woodall’s to offer free self-defense classes on Saturday, Feb. 4, and April 21 through a rape prevention grant. Louise Czopek, PEACE’s community affairs coordinator, said their “primary focus is prevention, which means helping people to recognize and avoid potentially violent situations and offering tools should those methods fail.” Czopek said 75 percent of sexual assaults are committed by people the victim knows. “It’s a misconception that it’s committed by strangers. It could be a classmate, coworker. Some are date rapes,” she said. Mooney said the free classes involve instruction in basic strikes and kicks and the concepts behind them, as well as awareness about posture when standing. The classes will also include instruction and education about groundwork, which is rape-defense oriented. Mooney said classes end with a “what if” scenario where students have to think about how they would defend themselves in certain situations. Mooney, who has been trained and volunteers with the sexual assault response team, said she would encourage everyone to learn self-defense, because it can be used in a variety of situations. “It’s not just about being raped,” she said. “It’s about things like road rage or someone wanting your purse. It’s not just the thought of rape. It’s any kind of violent crime that can occur. Sometimes it’s important because it’s the only option you have.” She said Woodall’s offers classes on Monday through Thursday evenings. She said the fee is $89 per month for one class weekly and $99 per month for unlimited classes. Woodall said, “We believe self-defense is age, cultural and gender specific. For women, women get attacked and men get into fights. The dynamics for teenage boys are different from teenage girls. All of that is covered in the class.” Instruction is tailored to the person learning it and can even accommodate for physical disabilities, Woodall said. “There is a lot of education behind it besides just punching and kicking,” he said. “We talk a lot about the social and gender issues that are the precursors to violence.” Children learn two categories of skills in their classes. The first is non-violent resolutions to schoolyard type conflicts and the second is information and skills to avoid kidnappings and sexual predators. Hjordes Norman enrolled herself and her daughters, and now teaches at the school. “I wanted my daughters to learn self defense. We’re incredibly lucky to have discovered this quality program; it’s truly unique. It’s practical, fun, and something we can do as a family.” For more information about Woodall’s classes, call (530) 613-0425 or go to WOODALL’S SELF DEFENSE Owner: Conrad Woodall What: Realistic self defense classes for children, ages 6 to 12, and adults Where: 3432 Swetzer Rd., Ste. A Classes: Monday through Thursday afternoon and evenings Contact: (530) 613-0425 FREE SELF DEFENSE CLASS Sponsor: PEACE for Families Who: Anyone age 13 and older Where: Woodall’s Self Defense, 3432 Swetzer Rd., Ste. A When: 9 a.m. to noon; Saturdays Feb 4, and April 21 Register: PEACE (530) 823-6224