Story and photos by Sgt. Jonathan C. Thibault
4th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
Soldiers and spouses punched, kneed and disarmed attackers, while improving their self-confidence, during a self-defense class at the Special Events Center, Nov. 7.
The self-defense class was specifically held for females of 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, and was taught by Chap. (Maj.) Luis LopezColon, brigade chaplain, 4th CAB, 4th Infantry Division.
“I held the class because I wanted to help our female Soldiers and Family members in the CAB, and to support our sexual assault response coordinator,” said LopezColon. “We wanted to instill confidence in the women, and prepare them for dangerous situations in which they may find themselves.”
LopezColon teaches self-defense moves that come from the martial art disciplines he has been practicing for 45 years.
“I’ve been practicing Tanren Goju-Ryu Karate-Jitsu since I was 5 years old,” said LopezColon. “These martial art disciplines are strategically designed to incorporate defensive and offensive applications in order to overcome practically any hostile situation. These are systematical approaches of hard and soft applications of Goju-Ryu (karate) and Sanuces-Ryu (jiu-jitsu) that induces balance, peace and high levels of confidence applicable to all age groups.”
The class is designed to help women learn to defend themselves against … sexual assault and domestic violence.
“I believe … women have a right to defend themselves,” said LopezColon. “I get the chance to teach them not to fear anyone, and how to react to situations with focused precision instead of impulsive actions.”
Training was valuable to both female Soldiers and spouses, regardless of previous training.
“The class is great for a female Soldier with combative skills and a civilian spouse who has never had any combative experience,” said Sgt. 1st Class Christina Martinez, brigade sexual assault response coordinator, 4th CAB. “The training teaches women to be aware of situations that could happen, and if it does, they know how to react. Female Soldiers receive combative training, but it doesn’t prepare them for the shock that comes from an unexpected attacker.”
“Iron Eagle” spouses found the class beneficial and encourage others to participate in the future.
“The class was very informative,” said Melissa Newell, spouse of Maj. Douglas Newell, brigade supply officer, 4th CAB. “I believe a lot of women get intimidated by these kinds of classes, but this class helps them build self-confidence. It was fun, educational and was easy to learn. I definitely plan on taking the next available class and encourage other spouses and female Soldiers to attend.”
4th CAB will continue to hold self-defense classes and is prepared to expand the class according to the number of participants.
“We plan to hold more classes as needed by the SARC,” said LopezColon. “If we can get more participants committed, we would like to expand our classes to more advanced self-defense tactics.”