It can happen in a moment.
In seconds, a casual walk to the car after a quick trip to the grocery store can become a struggle for life. Once the threat is realized, adrenaline rushes through your veins because your body kicks into fight or flight mode. The next few seconds can be the difference between life and death.
A new class at the Ardmore Public Library is geared toward preparing for those exact moments.
“You may be heading for your car and get grabbed or pulled away,” John Berry, the instructor of the self-defense course, said. “There are things you can do if you’re prepared and know how to use that adrenaline.”
The course uses elements of Tiger Tae-Kwon-Do to teach self defense.
Berry, a black belt, wanted to start a class to educate individuals, particularly women, on ways to defend themselves in the event of a threatening situation. The classes, which will be conducted from 6 to 7 p.m. every Wednesday in July at the Ardmore Public Library, cover techniques and methods for reacting to an attack, escape plans and ways to use your body as a weapon if necessary.
“The object is not to teach people how to attack,” Berry said. “Instead, we want to teach how to escape the situation and get away.”
The course teaches techniques that can create time for an escape, draw attention to the situation and tricks to minimize the risk of being attacked. For example, Berry said he encourages individuals carrying a bag or a purse to leave their dominant hand open, carrying the items in the non-dominant hand. Berry said this leaves the dominant hand, which is likely quicker to react and stronger than the other hand, to be used in the event of an attack.
Berry said the goal of the course is entirely defense-oriented. The class is donation based, with Berry asking guests to donate a dollar to participate. Attendees may also donate more if they desire. Berry said 50 percent of all the proceeds will be donated to an organization that works to combat human trafficking — or the trade of humans — usually for the purpose of forced labor, sexual slavery or commercial exploitation.
A $32 billion-a-year industry, human trafficking has increased in all 50 states, with more than 1,300 calls coming into the National Human Trafficking Hotline for Oklahoma, according to its website.
Berry said he chose to make the course donation only in order to allow more attendees to obtain the information that could save their life.
“I don’t think people should have to pay a lot of money to learn to defend themselves,” he said. “People increasingly need to know how to defend themselves.
“I thought it would be a worthy thing to try.”
Berry said the class may be conducted in August as well if there’s enough interest to warrant it.