Women learn defensive tactics

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Using Jan Sullivan as a would-be attacker, John Hughes demonstrates how easily fingers can be broken and how effective this would be to ward off an attack when someone grabs you from behind.

Using Jan Sullivan as a would-be attacker, John Hughes demonstrates how easily fingers can be broken and how effective this would be to ward off an attack when someone grabs you from behind. Photo by Teri Nehrenz.

It is said that, “One in four women will be the target of an assault in her lifetime.”  If John Hughes, Peggy Pope and Jan Sullivan have anything to say about it, Mesquite women will be prepared to face those odds.

Guns & Guitars owner Jan Sullivan, Women’s Defensive Weaponry Club founder Peggy Pope and John Hughes, Personal Safety Consultant are doing their part to ensure that their friends, family members and other female community members can feel confident about not falling victim to an attack.

A Self Defense workshop, taught by Hughes was held in the community room of the Oasis Clubhouse on June 24.  The workshop was originally intended for college bound seniors but gathered many more than just the young women. Women from the ages of 13 to 70+ were in attendance and eager to learn all Hughes had to offer them.

Peggy Pope and John Hughes demonstrate an upper strike using the palm of the hand.  A strike such as this can be effective to use toward the chin or the nose of an attacker.

Peggy Pope and John Hughes demonstrate an upper strike using the palm of the hand. A strike such as this can be effective to use toward the chin or the nose of an attacker. Photo by Teri Nehrenz.

Hughes began by telling the ladies that the first line of defense if a great offense; look around and be aware of your environment and immediate surroundings.  In most cases being prepared not to be a victim will, in itself, ward off an attack but if you do fall victim there are a number of defensive moves that will enable you to get away no matter how big or strong that attacker may be.

His second bit of advice was to be prepared.  He explained that not knowing what to do in case of an attack will cause a person to do nothing, the brain will shut down and you will fall victim to that attack unless you are prepared.

Being prepared is what this workshop focused on; basic moves and basic tools that would enable women to gain control in any attack situation whether it happened from the front or from behind.  Hughes said he could teach the women everything they needed to know in about 8 hours but the key for the women to make this instruction worth anything is practice.  Practicing each move over and over again will enable muscle memory; muscles remember the actions and they just react in a situation rather than the brain having to think about what to do.

Denise and Angelina Langston, mother and daughter, both attended the workshop because, according to Denise, “Angelina and I just moved down here and it’s just the two of us. I can’t be with Angelina 24/7 and I just want her to know how to protect herself and to be able to react and know that it’s okay to defend yourself no matter who it is, whether it’s male or female, it’s okay for her to take care of herself in any situation.”  Denise said Angelina has also had some private training along with this workshop.

Angelina Langston demonstrates a closed fist to the jaw, temple, nose or windpipe can be an effective defense move.

Angelina Langston demonstrates a closed fist to the jaw, temple, nose or windpipe can be an effective defense move. Photo by Teri Nehrenz.

This workshop was one of a series that Pope is planning for the women of her community.  Pope and Sullivan are both committed to making the women they know and love feel safe and in control of their lives in all situations.

For more information on self-defense workshops or the Women’s Defensive Weaponry Club contact Peggy Pope at womensdefensiveweaponry@gmail.com or Jan Sullivan at 346guns@gmail.com .

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