BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Members of Cheer Zone Athletics in Saucier took a break from the normal routine to learn how to stay safe. Dozens of kids some as young as three took part in a self defense class taught by Sensei Adrianyon Riley. Cheer Zone's owner says the recent news of crimes targeting children here on the coast, inspired her to hold the class.
"Hurry up. Hurry up. And Christopher is in my trunk," said Sensei Adrianyon Riley, who was acting out a kidnapping.
Learning how to not be a victim of a kidnapping or any other dangerous scenario is why this class is being held.
"What we tend to not do is practice the way we play. So we'll go out and we'll play one way and then we never practice that way. So then when it actually happens we're not prepared for the situation," said Riley.
A repeated phrase helps these kids remember what to do to get out of an attackers grasp.
"Escape To Gain Safety and that's escape is attacking the eyes, to is attacking the throat or the airway and gain is attacking the groin or mid-section and safety is attacking the lower portion of the legs or stomping the feet," Riley explained.
Cheer Zone owner says the kids may not become the expert martial artist that Riley is, but at least they'll be more prepared.
"They are definitely going to be more aware of their surroundings, which is first and foremost. And secondly, I think they will be able to defend themselves whether it be a situation at work with a bully or an actual attacker," said Shiela Perry the owner of Cheer Zone.
"So the first thing I want to do is take out her eyes," said Riley as he showed kids what to do to injure an attacker.
Across the mats were parents watching their children hoping they soak in the life safe skill.
"You know, I would think that they would be shocked and scared and that's what I don't want them to do. I want them to take up for themselves and have the confidence to know they are doing it the right way," said Jennifer Henderson, who signed up four of her children for the class.
"I learned that we can't all be protected. We need to protect ourselves," said Macey Lott.
The fear of something happening to your child will never leave, but knowing they have some tools for survival gives some parents peace of mind.
Cheer Zone's owner says if parents would like her to hold another one they can call (228) 831-2377.
Riley also holds self defense classes at World Combat Academy and the Good Deeds community center both in Gulfport.