Parish Self-Defense Class Packs a Punch


By Tony DeGol

In times of danger, prayer can be powerful, and so can packing a punch.

During a recent self-defense class sponsored by Holy Name Parish in Ebensburg, women learned valuable techniques to protect themselves if they are attacked.

“I want you to leave here today realizing that you are not naturally a victim,” stressed Dean Gittings. “You are naturally the most powerful, the most intelligent, the most able animal on the planet to defend themselves.”

Gittings, a Holy Name Parishioner, is the President/CEO of Gittings Protective Security in Ebensburg. He was the instructor for the class, offering the ladies important information about being aware of their vulnerabilities and patterns in their life that could make them a target.

Since we reside in communities that appear to be safe, we should certainly not think we are immune from harm.

“It’s scary the level of drug activity, the idea of people just breaking into your house because they’re trying to steal so they can get their next fix, that happens in this town all the time,” Gittings cautioned.

Some of his tips included obvious steps such as locking your doors and windows and locking your car.

When walking down a street, use confident, erect posture, Gittings urged, rather than being hunched over, glaring at your smartphone, and seemingly oblivious to your surroundings.

Something as simple as a scream or running away from assailant can be effective.

Class participants also learned physical moves to better defend themselves in a confrontation, including palm heel strikes, thrust kicks, and chokes.

“I just love the small actions that you can actually do to get away from someone,” said Charlotte Sommer, one of the women who attended the class. “Now I’m going to lock my car, put my head up high when walking and not be on my cell phone just to prevent someone from attacking me.”

Maria Spayd, another participant, loved learning about the importance of a woman changing her daily routine so a predator cannot predict her usual steps and attack her more easily.

“I just like all the self-defense instructions,” she added.

The Church provides for one’s spiritual well-being, but it can also provide for one’s physical well-being.

“We have a right to defend ourselves, that’s morally acceptable to do so,” reminded Father Brian Warchola, Pastor of Holy Name Parish. “I thought this was a perfect opportunity to do that and give education to all of us present here and give us an opportunity to truly defend ourselves, our body, souls, and mind. Hopefully these women never find themselves in a situation where they’re attacked or in a vulnerable spot where they would have to use these skills they learned, but now they have them.”

[Top photo: Women practice their moves during the self-defense class at Holy Name Parish in Ebensburg.]

[First inset photo: Instructor Dean Gittings assists two participants with self-defense moves.]

[Second inset photo: Maria Spayd (left) and Charlotte Sommer try out techniques they learned during the class.]