Parents and children of the Naval Air Station Lemoore (NASL) community gathered for a self-defense class held at the base Master at Arms (MA) Training Facility on Monday and Wednesday.
Guest speaker Sgt. James Edlund of the Hanford Police Department kicked off Monday’s class with tips on how to stay safe when venturing out in town, acknowledging that while crime in the cities of Lemoore and Hanford isn’t high, predators do exist.
“When you go out at night, make sure you park in well-lit areas. Make sure you’re staying with the public,” Edlund said. “The more people you have around you, the less likely you are to get approached by somebody.”
Edlund advised staying alert, keeping your keys in your hand and your cell phone ready when you’re out. He then conducted a Q&A session with the group.
Class coordinator Jennifer Hamer, who has experience in mixed martial arts and Taekwondo, and black belt instructor Chief Warrant Officer 2 Bill Hannah demonstrated self-defense moves for the group. Volunteers simulated attack scenarios, allowing participants to establish muscle memory and proficiency of techniques.
Hamer presented the group with an analogy about a bunny being preyed upon by a hawk.
“What did the bunny do wrong? Nothing,” Hamer said. “It’s simply that predators exist and they look for prey. We need to erase the blame stigma placed on victims of any kind of assault or attack. “
After demonstrating additional techniques, Hamer told the group that while they shouldn’t live their lives in fear, they should be aware of their surroundings and have a skill set to protect themselves and their families.
“If you’re going to be a bunny, be a ninja bunny,” Hamer said.
Hamer said the volunteers made the event possible. “Their dedication empowers our participants. In cases where there was previous trauma, they help in the healing process. They’re changing lives.”
Additional scenarios and self-defense techniques were presented on Wednesday night. Event sponsors NASL FFSC Family Advocacy Program provided the group with the resources they offer as well as red flags for abusive relationships.
Self-defense classes have been provided on the base periodically since 2016.