Girls learn to fight back, boost self-confidence
By KATIE SEMINARA
Vindicator Staff Writer
YOUNGSTOWN — Self-defense isn’t just about fighting back.
It’s about evaluating situations and being aware of surroundings, said Larry Trombitas, self-defense instructor at the Jewish Community Center on Gypsy Lane.
“We don’t want to fight; we don’t want confrontation,” Trombitas said to a group of about 15 girls ages 16 to 18 during a teen self-defense class last week.
“If we can avoid confrontation, that’s what we’d like to do,” he said.
The class is an introduction to self-defense and is meant to prepare girls for an independent life, while helping them gain more self-confidence.
“The class is geared toward girls who are going to college,” said Melanie Yesovich, the JCC’s health and wellness coordinator.
Sexual predators and other attackers show up on college campuses, as well as places such as mall parking lots, and the center encourages girls to handle threatening situations the right way, she said.
“Most of the girls are sent by their parents because they are going away for school and this class helps build confidence,” Trombitas said.
Preparation for post high school life is the reason Michal Mymo, 16, and Jamie Lowery, 17, both of Girard decided to participate in the class.
The College of Wooster and Xavier University are two schools Mymo said she is considering and added that the self-defense class would better prepare her for her college years away from home.
Lowery, however, said she’s considering Kent State University and wants to pursue criminal justice.
“It’s better to start now,” Lowery said of learning some basic self-defense techniques. “I want to get a feel of what I’ll be doing.”
After one class, both girls had a grasp on some basic defense moves and tactics. Knowing the surroundings in your environment and attacking a predator’s vulnerable spots, such as the eyes, ears and throat, were two points the girls gathered from Trombitas.
“It’s important to assess your situation and think about your options,” Mymo said.
“Instead of running away, you can try to defend yourself,” Lowery said.
The examples used in the class may seem drastic, but they are occurrences that happen in real life, Trombitas said.
“We want people to be able to avoid situations,” he said. But if not, the girls need to be prepared.
“There’s no referees in the real world,” Trombitas said. “People must defend themselves.”
Mymo and Lowery said they recommend other girls their age take the class because the knowledge gained might be used. It’s best to be prepared for any situation, they said.
“If girls want to learn how to defend themselves, they should attend the remaining classes,” Yesovich said.