The free seminar, instructed by several martial arts experts and members of the ZPD, is held Saturdays from 8 - 10 a.m.; two classes remain and are scheduled for Feb. 4 and Feb. 18.
The seminar teaches self-defense 101 strategies such as establishing a ground base (solid planting of the feet), learning how to get yourself free from an assailant choking you, grabbing your arm or coming from behind and putting you into an unsuspecting head lock.
Groups of two women pair up to practice the easy-to-learn moves, and by the end of the two-hour session, women are escaping choke holds - while standing or lying on their backs - and they begin to feel a sense of power.
"These classes are invaluable," said Olga, a Zachary resident. "I have learned so much, and I feel stronger already."
Lt. Roderick Ennis says the main thing to remember is "always be aware of your surroundings."
"It's better to know this and not need it, then to need it and not have it," Ennis said, of the self-defense moves. "Most attacks on women are by someone they know. It's imperative women learn some form of self-defense."
About seven moves were learned, and Ennis urged the women to practice, practice, practice. "As with anything, the more you practice it, the better you will be at it," he said.
Ennis and Michael Hinote, an instructor at Zachary Martial Arts/Gracie Barra studio in Zachary, say that martial arts are for everyone, and self-defense is more than just learning physical moves.
"No matter your age or fitness level, martial arts opens up a whole new world of self-esteem and confidence," Hinote said. "Children who take up martial arts learn effective skills to deal with bullying, and adults who learn martial arts develop a much healthier lifestyle."
Lynette Ennis, who assists her husband with the self-defense seminars, says she loves martial arts. "I am stronger, healthier and more fit than I've ever been in my life," she said. Although Ennis has only been taking Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for about a year, she is considering teaching a class for women only at the Zachary Martial Arts and Leadership Academy/Gracie Barra studio, located at 2060 Church St., Suite B.
The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes are specifically offered Mondays at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.; Wednesdays at 6 p.m. and Saturdays at 11 a.m., however, other types of martial arts classes are also available.
To register for one of the remaining ZPD self-defense classes, please e-mail email@example.com to reserve your spot.
The classes are free and are held at the ZHS Athletic/Academic building in the wrestling room.
For more information on martial arts and schedules, please visit www.zmala.com or call 225-610-7642.