EXETER — Roughly 65 women of various ages and physical abilities learned how to punch, kick and claw their way out of a possible life-threatening situation Sunday.
The free, two-hour seminar was the second of its kind held at Galli’s Fighting Chance School of Defense.
Splitting into three groups, the women alternated through several instructor-led, hands-on sessions where they learned how to defend themselves with skills involving grips, holds and ground fighting.
One of the youngest participants in Sunday’s class, 10-year-old Natasha Richmond, who just started taking Jiu Jitsu lessons at the center, practiced maneuvers with her dad, John, 35.
With Natasha lying on her back, John positioned himself over her and pinned her wrists over her head. Proving the martial arts theory that technique wins over strength, 72-pound Natasha hooked her foot around his, pulled her elbow down while twisting his arm and flipped her 250-pound dad onto his back.
“She’s only two weeks into Jiu Jitsu and she’s throwing me around,” said John.
The members of the group also learned how to defend themselves in the event of a home attack using common objects such as a remote control, a rolled up magazine, a soup can and a coffee mug.
“A remote control is just a piece of plastic, but when utilized right, you can do some serious damages,” said instructor Alex Delgado, a third degree black belt in Nihon Goshin Aikido.
Joan Bianco, 58, of Exeter, said she has tried kick boxing, but it was the first time she’s ever taken a self-defense class.
“I leave work late and I have a set schedule and work in a desolate area so should I be approached, I’d know how to handle it,” she said. “The class gave us a good, basic idea of how to handle yourself and at the very least, get away from an attacker.”
The school, which has been in business for 20 years, opened its new, 5,000-square-foot facility on Tunkhannock Avenue in January. Owner and senior instructor Leonard Galli, who is also a sergeant with the Exeter Borough Police Department, said the first women’s self-defense seminar, held last month, was so popular that he decided to offer it again as his way of “giving back to the community.”