Self-defense measures

With the growing concern for the safety of girls and young ladies throughout the country as disappearances and kidnappings become more prevalent, the self-defense experts at the Combat Academy in Gulfport are making it their mission to share tips you can use to stay safe.

Statistics show one aggravated assault happens every 34 seconds and one violent crime happens every 22 seconds in the United States. First-degree Black Belt Sha Tika Russell says with numbers like those you have to be prepared for anything. “Especially for our younger generations, the phones are very distracting. You could be walking out of Walmart looking at a text message and boom, a man could come up and grab you from behind. So, what are you gonna do at that point?”

The Combat Academy teaches students the techniques of martial arts including self-defense. Fifth-degree Black Belt Marquese Davis says those lessons are important, but the number one rule is situational awareness. “I can teach you how to fight all five people, but if you’re not aware of what’s going on around you then you can’t defend yourself against an attack that you don’t see coming.”

The experts say before it comes to this, there are ways to enhance your self-defense. “I would suggest getting some mace, being trained on how to use it because you can spray yourself, and it’s not fun. There are things that you can put on your keys, such as brass knuckles. If somebody comes to you and you can actually use simple things like your keys as a weapon.”

Russell says in light of the disappearance of Aniah Blanchard in Auburn and discovering the bodies of Janaya Thompson, Alexis Crawford, and Kamille ‘Cupcake’ McKinney, it’s more important than ever to know how to defend yourself. “I do feel disappearances are very scary. I actually just had a daughter myself. I would never want anything to happen to her. I definitely sympathize with those parents. Instances like that, every second counts.”

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