Lansing women learn self defense


Smith holds the free class to ages 13 and up on the last Saturday of every month when he teaches offense, defense, ground defense, escapes and how to deal with weapons.

In addition to his classes at the American Martial Arts and Fitness Academy, Smith offers a self-defense course at MSU for students.

Danyelle Morrow / The State News

During Saturday’s lesson, Smith taught women offensive and defensive moves.

He told them the three primary target areas are the cornea, the throat and the groin.

“Education is the most important part about self-defense,” Smith said.

The majority of the lesson was spent physically practicing offense and defense moves, however, Smith spent a lot of time educating the women about self-defense. Smith said it’s important for women to know the physical moves, but awareness is the first step.

Lansing resident Jennifer Kowal attended the self-defense class for the first time Saturday, and she is more interested in being educated than anything else.

She said she has been a victim of sexual assault and she wants to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Kowal said it’s reassuring to be told it’s alright to fight back, and that she has the right to say no.

Smith demonstrated each move with Lansing resident Kyle Rogers, who has been training at the American Martial Arts and Fitness Academy for three years. Rogers enjoys the class because he said it’s a good way to remain physically active and to learn how to protect yourself. “And it’s just fun,” he said.

Rogers has always had an interest in self-defense. When he was younger, Rogers took karate with his mom.

Following the lesson, Smith talked about a palm stick weapon effective for striking, thrusting and escaping a tight grip.

“For me, this is way better than pepper spray,” Smith said. “Pepper spray, in reality, is not very effective.”

Like pepper spray, the palm stick attaches to a key chain but is a good alternative because it cannot be used against the victim in most cases.

Kowal is considering attending another, more in-depth course because she wants to become more educated when it comes to self-defense.

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