Mt. Pleasant Martial Arts hosts Women's History Month self-defense seminar
Mt. Pleasant Martial Arts hosted its third annual Women’s History Month self-defense seminar on March 26.
The seminar focused on teaching combative tactics, defense tactics and self-defense situations to women. The ages in the group ranged from nine to 65 years old.
Brandon McQueen, owner of Mt. Pleasant Martial Arts, aims to expand outreach within the community, and help individuals learn how to defend themselves.
"I think we make the community a better place when we offer our own time and energy, so I'd say what is important is that the community is there to support each other," McQueen said. "This gives us an opportunity to expose our program to people who might not know we are here or what we are about."
McQueen stresses the importance of being prepared for the worst-case scenario and he teaches participants how to fight back.
“Survival is always fair game. No matter how dirty you play, your attacker will not give you any advantage while attacking,” McQueen said. “You must be willing to respond at that same level.”
Combative tactics taught to the group consisted of long-range attacks like kicking, mid-range attacks like punching and short-range attacks like kneeing and elbowing. Participants used black foam blocking pads to strike when sparring with partners.
Vestaburg resident Michele Armstrong is 65 years old and said she had always thought about taking a self-defense class.
“I want to learn some skills so that I can protect myself if I'm ever in a really bad situation,” Armstrong said.
Participants were also taught a defensive tactic to grab their opponent’s neck while keeping one of their arms locked. McQueen said that the best and first defense is to be loud and be aware of your surroundings.
“The two things to avoid is getting brought to a second location and ending up on the ground,” McQueen said.
The last section involved teaching self-defense situations, which featured how to get out of a front chokehold.
There is a three-step process when using self-defense in a situation, McQueen said.
Someone must first address the immediate threat which could be something like a lack of oxygen from being choked. The second step is to counterattack by using combative and defensive tactics to hinder the attacker. The third step is to flee the scene and look for exits, people that could possibly help or weapons.
Mount Pleasant resident Anna Winters came with her two daughters after being recently followed by a man at the grocery store.
“Luckily my significant other was there, and it seemed to keep them away, but we started thinking what if that ever happens and my significant other wasn’t there — we don't know how to defend ourselves,” Winters said.
Mount Pleasant resident Laura Coffee has regularly attended the seminar for two years now.
“I've always been interested in this stuff. Also, I'm small and short and I can't just push somebody over if they attack me. I need to know what I'm doing (because) I can't rely on force really,” Coffee said.
For McQueen, he believes this seminar should be just the beginning for those who attend.
"Self-defense classes, like the one we offer, puts one in a much better situation than no training at all. (However) I highly recommend that students use the self-defense class as like a stepping stone," McQueen said. "Eventually (individuals should) start training an actual martial arts like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Taekwondo or find a Mixed Martial Arts program," McQueen said.
Mt. Pleasant Martial Arts offers a youth Taekwondo program, a youth Mixed Martial Arts program and a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu program. It also offers adult self-defense classes called Warriors Krav Maga which is for those ages 13 and up.