NEXTGen Detroit’s First Women’s Self Defense Class is a Hit

September 22, 2014 | Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit

A group of young women gathered on the evening of September 17th at the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit to participate in NEXTGen Detroit’s first women’s self defense class. Lead by the Federation’s Head of Community Security, Gary Sikorski, the class offered eye-opening information about defending oneself in dangerous situations and tactics for being more alert to possible risks.

“The first step in any self defense training is acknowledging that there is potential for you to be a target of a crime,” Sikorski to the class. “By being here, you all have completed that first step.”

After a brief presentation on predators that included warning signs and suspicious behaviors to look for, attendees warmed up with exercises that challenged their reflexes. The class then moved on to techniques for breaking free when grabbed by the wrists and maneuvering out of a chokehold.

“The class was incredibly empowering. I now know a whole new set of ways to safely approach situations, and I’m really inspired to be more vigilant about my surroundings,” said Jaclyn Snider of West Bloomfield.

Participants then made their way to the Federation’s underground garage for what most considered the highlight and grand finale of the evening — pepper spray training. Using inert training canisters filled with water, the women tested their skills on a wall lined with printed “bad guy” targets. Sikorski then graciously played the role of a would-be attacker in a demonstration that allowed a few of the women to spray the inert canisters on a living, moving target. Each participant was given her own can of real pepper spray to take home.

“I went home and practiced the techniques Gary taught us, and they really work,” said Rochel Buxbaum of Oak Park. “Although I hope to never use them, or the pepper spray, I feel much more capable of facing any possible threats now.”

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