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Monday, October 15, 2012

Santee Offers Self-defense Course for Young Women

Monday, October 15, 2012

The "Just Yell Fire'' class is scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday, Nov. 13 and 15, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Santee Teen Center at Santee Lakes. Register at http://bit.ly/Ouipl0.

Here’s a story about how instructor Carla Slater Kettrick got involved:
In July 2009, a Mission Valley woman was ambushed in her garage in by an intruder with a knife.

What happened next was better than you might guess.

Rather than surrender, the petite woman fought back, broke free and was able to get passersby to help.

The assailant, who was later linked to six other attacks against  women, was chased down and captured.

That real-life crime drama struck a chord with Carla Slater Kettrick, an El Cajon mother of three daughters.

“I began thinking it wouldn’t be a bad idea to learn these (self-defense) skills myself and pass them on to my girls,” she said.

Her quest led to an Oregon-based nonprofit group called Just Yell Fire that teaches young women self-defense techniques aimed at eluding would-be attackers and kidnappers.

Carla attended a day-long training sponsored by Just Yell Fire and studied the curriculum to become an instructor. She also began training at martial arts academy in street fighting techniques.

For the past 2.5 years, Carla has shared her knowledge as a certified Just Yell Fire trainer at classes  offered through the city of Santee’s Recreation Services Division, which offers the course throughout the year. She’s also given seminars on self-defense to church groups and local Girl Scout troops.

Her  course is tailored for young women from the ages of 11 to 17 who are becoming more independent and spending more time with their peers and away from the watchful eyes of their parents.

Every young woman who attends her class receives a postcard that summarizes the Just Yell Fire lessons into five basic word/concepts: decide; deter, disrupt, disengage and debrief.

She can boil it down even more succinctly.

“We want girls to believe there is an option, that they can fight back,” she said. “It’s getting away (from an attacker) that’s the goal.”

She teaches a variety of self-defense techniques aimed at breaking free from an attacker, including kicking, jabbing the eyes, slapping the ears.

“We teach them something they can easily remember,” she said.  “We practice things such as eye jabs that will cause the attacker some pain or to flinch, anything that will allow the girl to get away.”

Videos are available on the Web for students to refresh their skills.

Literature published by Just Yell Fire says that women under the age of 20 are more vulnerable to sexual assault than the rest of the female population. Fourty-four percent of sexual attacks are perpetrated against women 18 years or younger.

One parent who enrolled her adolescent daughter in the course said, “My daughter learned so much about self defense, which is a difficult subject for parents to teach.”

Carla says the self-defense skills she teaches are especially helpful to girls who spend more time at home alone because they are from single-parent families.

“Parents want the piece of mind knowing that their girls will know what they need to do to be safe,” she said.

The next Just Yell Fire seminar is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Oct. 26 at Carlton Oaks School. Another session is scheduled for 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 13 and 15 at Santee City Hall, Building 7.

Parents interested in enrolling their daughters can contact the Santee Community Services Department at (619) 258-4100 ext. 222 or Carla Slater Kettrick at carlaslater@cox.net

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