By ELIZABETH MOORE, Ranger Reporter:
Helping women defend themselves is the goal of a new class created by Eric Wallace, director of the criminal justice programs, and Billy Jack Hudson, defensive tactics teacher at the Panhandle Regional Law Enforcement Academy and also a instructor for this class.
“The ability to fight for their safety, if ever needed, is something that every woman needs,” said Hudson. “I see more bad things happening to good, innocent people. It’s time for us to fight back against these evil-doers.”
The daylong defense classes teach situational awareness, distraction techniques and self-defense tactics. Hudson said the class is perfect for anyone. The class covers blocking, striking, escaping an attack hold and defending yourself on the ground.
“This class is designed for any interested female,” Wallace said. “It is ideal for high school and college students, women professionals, or mothers and daughters to take together. We would love to see groups of friends take it together, too. It is a serious topic, but the instructor makes it a fun class.”
“I created this class for females due to the fact that evil people mostly prey on females because they think they are weaker,” said Hudson. “Which is not the case, women just have to use different tactics.”
Classes are currently once a month during the fall, on the first weekend of the month. The criminal justice department will offer the class on the same schedule in the spring. The instructors said they hope to add more classes and expand to include men as well.
Raul Dominguez, the coordinator of intervention programs, said the class offers beneficial skills for all women. “We want friends, best friends or a group of girls to get together and say ‘hey you know what, let’s take this class together so we can learn some defensive tactics, some observation skills and what to be aware of’ and not put themselves in a situation where they have to use it. But if they have to use some kind of self-defense, then that’s what the class is for.”
Wallace said he was discussing the idea of creating this class with female colleagues and friends who told him that women are typically more comfortable with learning skills, such as the ones taught in this class, in a group of other women.
“Because everything can’t be taught in one day, we hope to offer a class with more advanced skills in the future. In fact, we already have people asking for that,” Wallace said.
Dominguez said he hopes that by next spring more of the community will want to attend, and they can have more classes a month or teach more advanced skills.
“I want everyone who is thinking about attending to feel confident and comfortable in coming to the class. It’s a judge-free atmosphere,” Hudson said.