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NEWS | April 18, 2013

Self-defense class promotes taking care of self, others

By Robert Goetz Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs

The last of three free self-defense classes that are part of Joint Base San Antonio's Sexual Assault Awareness Month observance is scheduled 4:30-5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the JBSA-Randolph Rambler Fitness Center.

Led by longtime martial arts instructor Roy Eby, JBSA-Lackland Health and Wellness Center health promotion technician, the class will focus on techniques participants can use in the event of a sexual assault or other form of attack and help them become more aware of their surroundings.

"We asked Mr. Eby to teach the class to raise awareness and promote prevention and self-awareness in regard to the issue of sexual assault," Maj. Daniel Katka, JBSA Sexual Assault Prevention and Response community relations program director, said. "Any time we can help people be more self-aware and be confident in protecting themselves, it's a very good thing."

The class will consist of a lecture, demonstration of techniques and hands-on activities for students. The lecture will include a safety assessment of students' ability levels and physical limitations, and discussion of use-of-force options and situational awareness.

Eby, a member of the International Independent Martial Artists Association Hall of Fame, said student participation will be paced.

"I'll demonstrate the technique, break it down to a small part and allow the student to only perform one small portion until it is performed correctly and then progress to the next portion of that particular technique," he said.

Eby, who taught the class April 10 at Lackland and April 17 at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, said his approach emphasizes "muscle memory."

"Proper quality trumps quantity," he said.

Discussing what a woman should do when confronted by an attacker, Eby, quoting the late martial arts superstar Bruce Lee, said, "Use what is useful."

"Evaluate the situation you are about to put yourself in and ask yourself, 'Could I be a victim if I continue this path?'" he said. "Don't put yourself in a circumstance to be a victim."

Eby, who has been teaching martial arts since 1985, said he enjoys teaching a "practical means of self-defense and building up people's feelings of self-confidence."

One of his messages to students is that it is their responsibility to take care of themselves and help others in need.

"Use a sound mind and believe in your inner faith for doing the right thing and you will survive," Eby said.

Although the class is designed for women to prevent or defend against a sexual assault, it can also benefit men, he said.

The class, which has a maximum enrollment of 60, is open to active-duty members and civilians who have a Department of Defense ID card. No registration will be required, and students will be admitted on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information about self-defense classes, call 808-6316.