May 22, 2012 1:58 PM by Beth Saboe (MTN - Bozeman)
BOZEMAN- The U.S. Department of Justice reports that one in six women in America will be a victim of sexual assault.
Recent events around Montana, including reports of sexual assault at the University of Montana in Missoula, have underscored how often this violent crime occurs and spurred some women to learn self-defense to protect themselves.
A dozen women recently attended a day-long class at Cunningham's ATA Martial Arts in Bozeman. Government statistics show a sexual assault occurs in the United States every two minutes.
Instructor Troy Kechely of Mountain Self Defense is a 2nd degree black belt in Taekwondo with over 20 years of experience in teaching martial arts and self-defense. Throughout this sexual harassment and rape prevention class, he stressed that protecting yourself starts with being aware of your surroundings.
"By being aware we identify threats before they ever happen and we can avoid them," said Kechely. "Remember, the best battle to win is the one you never have to fight. We want to make sure we have the right mindset and are always aware so nobody takes our life."
The ladies were taught the same punches, kicks and other self-defense techniques used by law enforcement. The moves target major muscle and nerve groups to quickly disarm or stun an attacker.
"I can tell you from being kicked with that gear on, it works," said Kechely. "That's why we target these nerve motor groups and why we don't teach women to target the groin. That's just a pain compliance. I've seen guys get kneed in the groin and it just makes them really angry. I don't want that, I want to shut them down."
Debbie Costle of Bozeman took the class with her twin, teenage daughters. She said she wanted to make sure they had skills to protect themselves once they left home for college.
"They're in high school now, but if they're in a situation where they'd need to know this, it's good to know they would," said Costle.
Kechely said the pressure point control tactics are the most effective self-defense techniques to learn.