ACSO to host women’s self defense course

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 30, 2010

Editor’s note: Times for the July 29 class were originally incorrect in this story. The times are correct below. We regret the error and are happy to set the record straight.

NATCHEZ — Husbands and boyfriends might be asking their wives and girlfriends to walk them to the car at night after Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield teaches local women be alert and on the defense next week.

Mayfield is hosting a course called Ladies Beware — Increasing Self Defense Options for Women July 29 and 31 free of charge, and women age 18 and older are invited to the ACSO firing range on Foster Mound Road for some safety pointers.

According to recent statistics provided by the ACSO, one violent crime occurs every five seconds in the United States, and 172 women are physically and or sexually assaulted every hour.

“It’s something that I think is really important…to try to instruct ladies to teach them how to defend themselves in a situation. And not only that, but to keep themselves out of the situation,” Mayfield said.

The July 29 class from 6 to 8 p.m. will focus on situational and avoidance techniques, improvised weapons, taser and pepper spray use and basic self-defense. The July 31 class from 8 to 11 a.m. will focus on firearm safety and familiarization.

The July 29 class will be in a classroom setting, and Mayfield will instruct women to avoid certain behaviors attackers look for when choosing victims and other tips.

For instance, criminals target women who look distracted by talking on cell phones, digging through purses or looking down.

Mayfield said improvised weapons include guns, tasers, pepper spray or “things you can use that you probably have in your purse right now,” Mayfield said.

Mayfield said he will not be teaching intensive physical moves, such as “arm bars” or “take downs.” He said people often forget how to properly use these types of moves six months after learning them, and failed attempts to fight back can cause more harm in a dangerous situation.

However, he said he will likely demonstrate some simple moves, like a choke-hold release.

For the July 31 firearm class, Mayfield said women can bring their own weapon with ammunition. The firearms must be unloaded and secured.

Those who do not own a weapon can use ACSO firearms and be advised which weapon suits her best.

The first half of the firearm class will be safety instruction, and the second half will allow women to practice at the firing range.

ACSO deputies with National Rifle Association certification will attend the July 31 class and offer advice about steps to take to purchase a weapon for those interested.

Mayfield said awareness and common sense instruction can go a long way to avoid danger.

“Unfortunately the officers can’t be everywhere and criminals will be preying on victims when (law enforcement officers are) not in sight. We’re trying to educate on how to not be a victim,” Mayfield said.

“The main goal is to prepare them.”

Mayfield said he has taught more than 10 classes like Ladies Beware in the past 20 years. He has taught self-defense classes more recently to Cathedral and Trinity high schools.

“I just want everybody’s daughter, wife, mother and grandmother to have the opportunity to be safer. If we can teach people not to be victims, we don’t have as much crime.”

To register, contact the ACSO at 601-442-2752. Due to space, class size is limited.