PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) – Studies show nearly five-thousand non-family child abductions occur each year. Predators are always looking for easy targets. Those most vulnerable are young girls. A self-defense class took place this afternoon at the Black River Technical College to help teach children the dangers of the outside world and educate them on to react if attacked.
"We teach kids how to swim to keep them from drowning...why not teach them self defense to prepare them in case something does happen," says self-defense instructor Amber Richbourg.
"You hear so much about child abduction on the news all the time. It's just part of our society so they really need to hone in on those skills," says instructor Valerie Dwyer.
Dwyer says it's best to start at an early age, "They want to go run around the mall by themselves and we as parents are not comfortable about that yet and at this age they are just not aware."
The class was held Monday from 8:00a.m.-4:00p.m. for ages 8-17. "They're going to learn breaking wrist grabs, elbow/ knee kicks. They're basically going to learn some of the same things the adults do," says Richbourg.
With plenty of hitting, maneuvering, they even set up different scenarios to test out their skills. "They should be able to protect themselves no matter how big the aggressor is," says Richbourg.
Instructor Valerie Dwyer says girls should learn to defend themselves, "Young girls especially are not expected to fight back. They're not expected to know what to do if a situation arose and so that is why we are here today." She says the kids soaked up information like a sponge, "They have actually impressed us very much so. We've gone through this morning and then gone back and asked them questions and it's amazing what they retained.
The self-defense class will continue through tomorrow. The kids will put their newly learned skills to the test by taking an aggressor head on.