Editor’s note: This is part two in a series of stories on self defense classes. Writer Whitney Vickers is taking the defense classes from Midwest Martial Arts in Fairborn and is sharing her experience with readers.
FAIRBORN — Midwest Martial Arts in Fairborn teaches a “total defense system,” in which “all the nonsense is thrown out,” according to owner Tony Dewitt.
“The average person could come in, learn basic self-defense, very practical and effective, and within three-to-five seconds be able to handle the situation,” he said. “… My rule is, if it lasts over five seconds — you’ve done something wrong.”
In the previous story focusing on self-defense, this newspaper explained what self-defense is and how its first steps include self-awareness and carrying on with a confident attitude. Dewitt said doing so can prevent an attack.
“You think of a predator like an animal,” he said. “When a lion watches a herd of buffalo, it watches the weak, the sick, the one that’s going to give the least resistance. When a snake bites, it will back off and wait for the victim to die because it doesn’t want the resistance.”
Upon demonstrating some of the first movements to self-defense — a jab punch — he explained that if an individual is right-handed, for instance, their right leg away should “fall back” behind and to the side of the body and at a slight angle, while keeping the left foot in front with the toes facing front. One fist should be held near the front of the face and the other by the opposite cheek. While delivering punches, keep the arms locked close by the ribs and use the force from the weight of the body to deliver the punch, alternating between using the fist closest to the predator and the one closest to the face.
Using the fist further away from the predator for defense is called a cross punch, “because it goes across the body,” he said. The body will rotate into the delivery, allowing more force.
“You want your hands kind of sideways and on the side of the face, not in front,” Dewitt said. “Why not in front — is that by if [a predator] hits your own hand, you’ll hit your mouth and knock yourself out with your own hand.”
When striking a predator using the arms, avoid hitting directly with the tip of the elbow, the point where the forearm and tricep meet, and instead use the outside of these muscles to hit the attacker’s face depending on the position of the attack.
“The hand will punch the center of your chest … Bicep faces palm,” Dewitt said. “… With elbows, you never want to have to reach when throwing them. It’ll bring you off balance.”
Knee moves become beneficial upon being grabbed. He explained that it should strike whatever body part it can, such as the groin or face if they are bent over.
“Your number one weapon is your knees,” he said. “If they go down with a knee-strike, they’re not getting back up. The farther away you get from your body, the less power it has. It’s knees, elbows, kicks, punches, — power per part, which means your kicks are more powerful than your punches.”
The power of kicks depends on the specific move. In a front snap kick, point the knee and snap the leg toward the attacker.
“It’s very effective to stop someone from coming in straight,” he said.
Dewitt has been practicing martial arts for the last 37 years, getting his mastery of the skill under Ernie Reyes Sr., flying back and forth to California for 17 years in order to do so.
“What was really nice is that I was trained with these world class guys, so quality repetition was drilled in our heads,” Dewitt said. “Not just repetition, quality repetition.”
Whitney Vickers can be reached by calling her directly at 937-502-4532, or via Twitter, @wnvickers. For more content online, visit our website or like our Facebook page.