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Free women’s self-defense seminar; Course scheduled Oct. 11

By Staff | Sep 25, 2008

A women’s self-defense seminar is coming to Red Dragon Kenpo Karate studio in Fort Myers on Oct 4 and 11.

Red Dragon owner Steve Casamento said the two-hour course is about awareness as much as it is about self-defense for women.

“It’s more of an awareness course than anything else,” Casamento said. “We’ll be teaching self-defense, but we’ll also be teaching things like how to be secure at home, as well as strategies on the street and at the mall.”

The first course on Oct. 4 filled up almost immediately, prompting Casamento and his staff to add the second course on Oct. 11.

Now in his third year of teaching free self-defense, this is the first time a second class has been added. Casamento speculated the rise in interest might have something to do with the economy.

“It might be the way things are going with the economy. Could be crime is going up, or more purses or credit cards are getting stolen. I don’t know,” he said.

The idea to give free self-defense seminars came from a friend of one of Casamento’s students.

Casamento said the friend — a woman who was attacked — came to him and asked about self-defense, but was intimidated by training in a class full of men. It was then he decided that a seminar for women only would be a great way to teach some basic self-defense techniques.

The seminar teaches women how to use things they may already have on them, like a set of keys, as well as shows them how to watch out for places attackers could possibly be hiding — in bushes, trees or underneath their cars in parking lots.

According to Casamento, Kenpo karate is the perfect basis for self-defense techniques because of its practicality “on the street.”

Casamento cited other martial arts techniques like tae kwon do as being purely for tournaments.

“(It’s) more like a game of tag,” he said. “When we go to tournaments, we get disqualified because there’s more of a self-defense application. You learn coordination, confidence, balance, flexibility … It’s more of a spiritual thing, but it has nothing to do with religion.”

The Oct. 11 class still has about 20 spots available, but Casamento warned they are going fast.

He also suggested bringing a partner along, for those who might feel intimidated by attending the class alone.

“Coming with another person helps out,” he said. “Something we teach here may be able to one day save your life, or the life of someone you love.”