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READ THE RALEIGH NEWS & OBSERVER FEATURE ARTICLE
Message to Women: Get Defensive
Women Self Defense Seminar
Raleigh News & Observer Feature Article
"Message to Women: Get Defensive"
by Staff writer Danny Hooley
RALEIGH, N.C. "HET! HET!" That's the sound of female self-confidence.
Now visualize about two dozen women yelling that as they take turns kicking male volunteers in the groin, and you get the picture. Fortunately for the male volunteers at the Lee Brothers Tae Kwon Do Studio Tuesday evening, they were protected by "kick pads."
And, fortunately for those women and many others in Raleigh, they have Frannie Bailey to show them how to defend themselves in real-life situations. Bailey, 53, is a First-Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do who teaches self-defense to women. The married mother of five boys runs a home cleaning service franchise, and has been practicing martial arts for about five years.
About a year ago, she said, she realized that she wanted to share her increased self-confidence with other women. "I just see so many women having things happen and being threatened and scared," Bailey said. "I just know how much it increased my self-confidence."
The self-defense course is called D.E.W. It! The acronym stands for Defense Education for Women.
Two-hour sessions cost $50 per student.
Proceeds go to the Sidekick Foundation, a fund set up by Lee Brothers to aid shelters for female victims of domestic violence, as well as toward scholarship money for students at Lee Brothers.
Bailey said that her class, which she runs with partners Lisa Bodemann and Master Jung Ho Lee of Lee Brothers, is designed for women who aren't necessarily interested in suiting up and performing high kicks. "It's very basic self-defense," she said. "A kick to the crotch if you have to. Then get out of Dodge."
The theory behind the classes, she said, is that women feel more comfortable learning self-defense techniques from other women. Master Officer R.D. Clark, crime prevention specialist with the Raleigh Police, said that women's self defense classes generally make him "nervous." "No amount of self-defense training can prepare you for every circumstance you'll encounter," he said.
Bailey and Bodemann both said they agreed with that. They stressed that the basic course is about defending against an unarmed person. And Bailey agreed with Clark that some things are not worth defending. "If they want your personal property -- give it to them," Bailey said.
Student Janice Fakhoury practices an attack move during a D.E.W.IT! self-defense class in Raleigh. She and about 20 other women attended a two-hour session at Lee Brothers Tae Kwon Do Studio on Strickland Road. Staff Photos by Corey Lowenstein
At Lee Brothers Tuesday night, five female volunteers helped Bailey instruct. Five male volunteers -- "dummies," they were called -- came in only for demonstrations, then promptly left the room until they were called back in. Chris Stoy, a Lee Brothers student volunteer who left that evening with a bruise on his arm from a pinching technique demonstrated by Kim Boericke, said he didn't mind the pain and indignities. "It's a good thing to help with," Stoy said. "Pinching is actually very effective. I never get used to that."
Instructor Rella Haire demonstrates an attack move on volunteer Dan Deter
Instructors also demonstrated running a high heel down the shin of an attacker who grabs you from behind. And then there's the palm strike, an upward, openhanded blow to the nose or chin. Like the aforementioned tactic, it's excruciatingly painful. Most importantly, the women were instructed to run -- and yell. "Those of us that are mothers know how to do that fairly well," Bailey said.
D.E.W. It! classes have been contracted by several corporate groups, and Bailey said she is going to aggressively market the class to more companies this year. She said that she's also focusing on high school students.
Brianna Vey, 15, is a Tae Kwon Do student at Lee Brothers who assisted with Tuesday night's demonstration. On March 15, she will assist with a demonstration at Millbrook High School, which she attends. "I think it's a big deal," Brianna said. "Especially if you're going off to college the next year."