By Rachel Hall, reporting for Bluebonnet News
Don’t be a victim.
“People want to do something to make them feel more empowered,” explained Advanced Weapons and Training Tactics President Michael Rodriguez. “It’s important for everyone to be able to walk around and feel they won’t be a victim.”
The women’s self-defense classes being offered by AWATT started about five years ago when Rodriguez’s wife was watching their sons in a martial arts class and heard a story about a fellow parent who was mugged.
“My wife thought it was important I offered this class. So, we started offering it for a low cost and it just took off,” said Rodriguez.
“Many women who take the class are taking it to feel safer, because they have already experienced being a target,” he added.
The most important thing to walk away learning from the class is situational awareness.
“It’s the same thing we teach police officers,” said Rodriguez. “Be aware of what is going on around you. In some cases you have already lost simply because you weren’t situational aware in the beginning.”
Though AWATT specializes in basic SWAT training, battlefield medic training, combative hands training, and other intense courses, the women’s self-defense class is more laid back.
“We will teach you how to protect yourself and your children,” explained Rodriguez. “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.”
Everything taught takes no size, according to Rodriguez who added the best mode of defense is to run away when possible.
“Run to find assistance,” he said. “If you are approached, make them aware you see them and have an escape plan ready.”
Women are also encouraged to travel in groups and remember two essential life-saving tips: never go to a second location and fight for your life right then and there.
“I pray the women in the class will never have to use anything,” said Rodriguez. “However, you can never be too careful.”
The deadline to register for the AWATT self-defense course at First Baptist Church Cleveland is Thursday, July 11 at noon. The class will be held on Saturday, July 13 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Registration is non-refundable and open to women ages 14 and up. First Baptist Church Cleveland is located at 400 W Hanson Street.