To combat increase in purse snatchings, fitness center offers free self-defense classes

Fed up with purse-snatchings? Fitness center offers self-defense lessons (for free)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Fed up with criminals preying on women, especially the elderly, the owner of the Art of Fitness is offering a new class.

It’s focus: Teaching women of all ages ways to defend themselves.

“I’d like to do it as long as people want to come,” said Ray Sagum.

The techniques being taught are tailored to each individual’s limitations and capabilities.

Russell Tanji signed on to instruct some of the classes. The retired Honolulu Police Department firearms and self defense instructor says pepper spray is a good way for women of almost any age to protect themselves.

“The hand position is critical,” Tanji said, as he demonstrated the correct way to hold the canister. “If I had my hand out here he could grab it from me. We spray and we shuffle out of the way.”

But in order for pepper spray to be effective, Tanji says you have to know how to use it and practice.

“Spray it in bursts. Go directly in their face,” he said. “Doing it gives them (students) a little more of an expectation of what’s required to do this.”

Women will also have the opportunity to learn some hand-to-hand techniques.

“Through Kajukenbo we’re going to be teaching skills of groin strikes," said Sagum.

Tanji added, “Unlike other programs we do this based on pure simulation.”

Classes at the Art of Fitness start on March 7 and will be held every Saturday from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Students are invited to attend multiple sessions to practice what they’ve learned.

To sign up for a free class, call 673-0020 to reserve your spot.

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