Women learn to protect themselves at self-defense class in Ocean Springs

Published: Oct. 16, 2021 at 4:42 PM CDT
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OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) - Tons of action went down at the Ryan Youth Center in Ocean Springs.

Women got the chance to learn how to push, kick, and break headlocks from Phenoma Fit Fitness Kick Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts to prepare them for dangerous situations.

Women like Erin Quave decided to take a self-defense class due to the fear of the unknown.

“I’m an Uber driver,” said Quave. “It’s a sketchy situation when you’re riding with a stranger so I wanted to be prepared.”

Instructor Ashley Wagnon has been training for self-defense for over eight years. She said she didn’t realize she needed lessons until seeing what could potentially happen.

“I went and seen a movie with a coworker, and she was like, ‘I wouldn’t know how to defend myself if someone threw me in a truck,’ and I said, ‘Me either,’ so she said we should sign up,” said Wagnon.

Wagnon said weight and strength can be someone’s downfall in a dangerous situation, which is why women specifically need to know moves that could save their lives.

“We tend to be built weaker, smaller, and we’re just targets so us women need to protect ourselves. People are crazy today. Other females are crazy, men are crazy,” said Wagnon. “You never know what you’re going to get yourself into. Everybody is a target, honestly, but women are definitely a target.”

The ladies learned techniques from breaking chokeholds and headlocks, as well as tips for when an individual is home, in a parking lot or in public. The moves help bring them peace of mind.

“It was fantastic,” said Quave. “I didn’t know that it would be hands-on, but I was pleased that it was and actually put it to use. Hopefully, I won’t need to use the moves but I’m glad I know them. I feel pretty good about being prepared now.”

Wagnon explained that 70 percent of attacks are from someone that the victim knows. She recommended everyone learn self-defense techniques to avoid an attack.

“You can’t have someone with you 24/7. It’s good to have groups but you need to go to work sometimes. You get out of your car to walk to your job and there may not be someone to talk with you and attacks happen everywhere especially parking lots, “said Wagnon.

The next class will be on November 20 at the Ryan Youth Center.

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