Self Defense for Women Teaches Common Sense

NUUANU (KHNL) - The average female assault victim in Hawaii is a woman between 18 to 26 years of age. That's according to self-defense experts. So how do you protect yourself? There is a course in which many of the techniques are fairly simple. The most important survival technique you'll learn is that your attitude about staying alive can make all the difference.

In an old Shinto temple in Nuuanu, a group of women gathers to learn how to protect themselves from assault. Instructor Steve McLaughlin stands in the center of the mats wearing a black jujitsu gi. McLaughlin has 35 years of self defense teaching experience. He is a Shihan of the Bushidokan Federation, Sensei of the Hawaii Zenyo Bujutsu Kai, a 7th Degree Black Belt in DanZan Ryu JuJitsu and holds Black Belts in several other martial art disciplines.

"Most attacks on women are happening in the home. The statistics vary from 70-80%," he warns the class. Then he demonstrates how to escape a chokehold- one of many escapes he'll teach over the next four hours.

The Hawaii Zenyo Bujutsu Kai (HZBK) Women's Assault Prevention Course is a one day clinic in self-protection and assault prevention training.  It has won awards and certificates from women's groups in Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada.

The techniques and information presented, McLaughlin says, are based on the latest police reports on violent criminal behavior and social work research on survivors of assault and domestic violence.  McLaughlin says the techniques presented are simple, practical, effective and proven methods from principles of DanZan Ryu JuJitsu (DZR) and can be accomplished by anyone with little or no previous training or physical conditioning. He says the moves he's teaching women are based on common sense. "I keep it extremely simple."

Mc Laughlin keeps it so easy, even an 11 year old can use it. This mother and daughter team of Charlyn and Carly Ishihara says they're glad they came. Mom Charlyn remarks, "I'm doing it with my 11 year old and she can get out of my hold! Here I think I'm really strong compared to her. I guess it works really easy!"

Mc Laughlin shows the class how to escape from a rape scenario in the bedroom, in which an attacker is sitting on top of you. "Push your hips up and throw him off to the side," he instructs the petite preteen. She easily complies; it's a confidence builder that Carly can throw off a grown man. "It's teaching me I don't need to be afraid and if they attack me I can prevent it," she says. "The class is really simple so I'd recommend it to anybody who wants safety."

McLaughlin is happy to hear that. "Most women want to fight back, according to statistics. They just don't know how," he says.

The course covers a range of situations: how to get out of a chokehold, what to do if you're being stalked, what if someone grabs your hair, and more. It's just common sense, says McLaughlin. "If you know what's going to happen, when it's going to happen, you have a good chance of getting out of it."

Mc Laughlin holds the class when he has a minimum of 12 students. It's usually on a Sunday at Hawaii Zenyo Bujutsu Kai Daijingu Temple, 61 Puiwa Rd, Pali Highway, Honolulu, Hawaii. Call him at (808) 351-3074 or e-Mail <> to sign up. His website is <>