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Defense class for women coming to Valley

VALLEY — Major T.J. Wood of the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office told members of the Kiwanis Club of Valley at this week’s meeting that he wasn’t overly impressed with the idea of teaching a women’s self-defense class when he was asked to do it.

“I thought it was a joke at first,” he said.

That was before he realized how useful it is, how easy it is for women to learn and how potentially life-saving for women it can be.

“It’s a wonderful course,” he said. “It teaches a lot of things that are simple to learn and you don’t have to be physically fit to do it.”

Word has gotten around about the course and how beneficial it is. It’s not hard at all to get women to sign up for it once it’s announced it’s being offered.

“If we announce on a Thursday that we’re offering it, it will be maxed out by the weekend,” Wood said.

Men are not allowed to watch the course being taught. “The only men involved are those that teach it. So many times it’s the husband, the boyfriend or significant other that is the abuser,” Wood said.

Instructors teach women how to use natural reactions in defending themselves.

“We recommend that women come back for refresher courses,” Wood said. “You can take it anywhere it’s offered. If what we do saves one woman’s life, it’s worth everything we have done.”

Wood said that Sheriff Sid Lockhart is very supportive of the program and that Macy Whorton is its biggest advocate.

“She’s the backbone of the program,” he said. “If anyone wants to know anything about the program it’s best to call her at (334) 864-4333. She can put you on the list.”

Most classes have no more than 25 women. Some participants are in their eighties.

The course is three hours per session and is taught on back-to-back Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“It’s on a Tuesday and Thursday one week and again on Tuesday and Thursday the next week,” Wood said.

Wood said he usually gets beaten on pretty good in these sessions.

“I tell them not to hold back,” he said. “For a woman to learn to defend herself she has to react as if the instructor is trying to abduct her. You learn how it is important to always be aware of your surroundings and to know what to do if attacked.”

The course will be offered again this summer.

“I have seen a lot in my 17 years in law enforcement,” Wood said. “No one should ever leave their home or their car unlocked. If you do, somebody will visit you who is not welcome.”

Wood said he wanted to thank Debbie Kelley, manager of the Lanett Hampton Inn & Suites, for providing an ideal
place to teach the course in the Hampton’s River Room.

The course is offered to all females of age 13 and up.

“For those who are under 18, we ask for approval from their parent or guardian,” Wood said. “I recommend for all college-age daughters to take it.”

Wood said that he may have approached this course as if it were a joke, but learned quickly how effective it can be. In that first session he played the part of an attacker and found out quickly how. with some easily-learned techniques, women can hurt a man who’s attacking them.

“Ask Macy what I looked like when I came out of that room. I was one mad, beat up man,” Wood said.