STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (WJAC) - January is National Personal Self-Defense Awareness Month, so professionals encourage using this time to prepare a plan in case you find yourself, or your loved ones, in a dangerous situation.
That is exactly why the team at LombardMMA in Downtown State College stresses the importance of learning boxing.
LombardMMA Marketing Director and Fighter Brittney Wineland is a mother of two and has been learning mixed martial arts for nearly two years, "When I first got involved in martial arts, it was more for physical fitness. But then I saw this is a value that all women should have, whether you have kids or not." She continues, "If I'm walking alone with my kids, I want to have that confidence that in any given situation, I can defend myself."
She and Bruce Lombard, owner of LombardMMA and fighter of over 25 years, teach what to think of first if you find yourself in an unthinkable situation. Lombard explains, "If you just know a few techniques and [repeat] those numerous times, that will be more effective if something really happened and you're nervous or scared."
He adds that the basic movements of boxing could be the quick-thinking self-defense strategies someone is looking for in their time of need, "They can grasp these techniques and visualize them a little bit easier than if you're in a situation where people are grabbing you, especially when there's strength involved. Particularly in size."
According to the American Women's Self-Defense Association, 1 in 12 women are stalked in her lifetime and one sexual assault occurs every two minutes in the U.S.
Wineland says that while boxing is a sport, it's also a life skill, "If you can throw a jab and a cross, you're going to nullify that energy if someone has you cornered in an alley. If you can defend yourself with your hands, I think that's the most important skill...They're going to attack the weakest, most vulnerable person."
The CDC reports more than 1 in 3 women and nearly 1 in 4 men experience sexual violence involving physical contact in their lives. "Everybody, no matter your size, your gender, your age, are going to be in a situation someday where you feel that anxiety, you feel some pressure on you," Lombard says.
Lombard advises his students to be aware of their surroundings and to be confident in their own ability to protect themselves, "Using these techniques and then get out of that situation somehow, whether it's screaming, running, or getting your phone and calling somebody."
He and Wineland say the concept of self-defense is not about being ready to fight at any time you walk out of your door; It's about not being afraid to walk out of the door, walk out to your car in the dark, or alone on the street if you have to.
Wineland says to her classes, "You never know the unknown, so be prepared to be unprepared."