Protecting yourself

SFC Shawn Bryant demonstrates one possible way of breaking out of a choke hold.

Although SFC Shawn Bryant mixed in a touch of humor during a self-defense class he presented Wednesday evening, Oct. 24 at the Leonard Good Community Center, he made sure those 40 individuals present were focused on the importance of what he was telling them.

“Yes you are in  small town Ogden, Iowa, but know things can happen here,” he said, then referenced the recent Mollie  Tibbetts case, and the abduction of the two young girls near Dayton.

He talked about the importance of situational awareness, always being aware of your surroundings, and trusting your instincts.

“Always,” he explained, “the first rule of self defense is escape,” and that was his primary focus during the hour. How can you escape the grasp of an assailant? Bryant first called up a volunteer for the demonstration then invited audience members to pair up and practice the moves. One move, “the single/double arm breakaway,” is illustrated in the lower left photo.

“The thumb is the weakest part of the grip,” explained Bryant, “so you want to roll towards it.”

Participants in the class ranged from middle school girls through retired individuals.

Wednesday night’s self-defense class was Bryant’s eighth one this month. He has scheduled another series (4, 6 and 8 p.m.) Wednesday, Nov. 14 at the National Guard Armory in Boone. 

Bryant is a National Guard recruiter and a reserve deputy with the Boone County Sheriff’s Department.