Finding a way to escape is the best way to deal with a threatening situation, but if a woman is attacked, her attitude and having tools that work can make all the difference, according to Sensei Tom Arcuri, of Bailey’s Karate in Herkimer.
Arcuri presented a self-defense workshop for women Saturday at Bailey’s Karate on Miller Avenue in Herkimer as a fund-raiser for victims of the recent shootings in Mohawk and Herkimer.
The Behavior Based Confrontation Management Women’s Failsafe Clinic looked at ways to avoid problems, but also offered tools to help women fight back if they are attacked.
Acceptance versus denial was one issue Arcuri discussed. While there may be a sense of unreality if one is attacked, “the sooner you accept it, the sooner you can avoid or escape.”
The average rapist is 5 feet 7 inches tall, he said. “They’re lurking in the shadows. They’re deviant bullies. They don’t want competition and with enough resistance, they’ll want to move on.”
Women and children are the most likely people to become assault victims.
This is a societal issue, Arcuri said. “We should teach our young men how to act.” Mental health issues also need to be dealt with.
“We want you to be reasonably prepared,” he told the group. Decisiveness is the key. “The quicker you decide, the more control you have over the situation,” he said. “The later it goes, the more control the bad guy has.”
Arcuri encouraged workshop participants to think about where and when they might be most vulnerable to attack, such as when they are leaving work or going to their vehicle.
“Things happen before they happen,” he said. “Be aware of your surroundings.”
If a situation makes a woman uncomfortable, she may just want to go back inside the building she has just left or call someone - or appear to call someone - on her cell phone. Activating one’s car alarm is another way to draw attention an attacker may want to avoid. “Always escape if possible,” said Arcuri.
An assailant wants to catch his victim off balance, he said. “It takes just two inches and a mind shift to get back on balance.”
The purpose of the class was to prepare for the worst-case scenario.
“The bad guy wants to get it over fast,” said Arcuri. “He doesn’t want to get caught and he doesn’t want to get hurt.”
While a man likely has an advantage in strength over a woman, “It doesn’t matter,” Arcuri said. “If you have to fight, fight.” He pointed out that an assailant will be forced to try to protect himself and may simply try to get away.
Page 2 of 2 - After an initial presentation, the women practiced ways to fight back if attacked.
Arcuri said he offers the women’s only Failsafe Clinic several times a year and offers clinics for the general public and for law enforcement officers as well as an anti-bullying program for school children. This time the women’s program was offered as a benefit, which raised about $600. The funds were divided between the Love and Compassion Benefit fund for victims of the March 13 fire and shootings and the memorial for Ape, the FBI K-9 killed when law enforcement agents stormed the building where shooter Kurt Myers was holed up. Any additional funds will be donated to a domestic violence program.