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Ross employees: hear my plea
Ormond Beach Observer Tuesday, Jul. 19, 2016 3 years ago

Can you stay safe without becoming totally paranoid?

One active shooter class was enough to have me browsing pricy security systems and thinking about adopting another Rottweiler.
by: Emily Blackwood News Editor

I don't think I'm alone when I say that the modern world is scary. It seems like every week there's a new attack, and unsuspecting violence is on the forefront of a lot of our minds. While I've been internally debating a move to the happiest country in the world, a.k.a. Denmark (JK I would never leave you Ormond), I figured a less drastic approach would be to gain some knowledge. 

With active shootings hitting too close to home, I signed up for the Florida Jukido Jujitsu Academy's first active shooter class. Though Cheif Instructor George Rego promised I wouldn't leave with a Jason Bourne level set of skills, I figured I'd at least have a better idea of what to do. 

In the class, I learned two things: 

1) I am very, very weak. 

2) I should have been kidnapped by now.

The seminar started with an overall idea of self-defense and what it really boils down to is awareness. Noticing who is around you when you're walking through a store or not keeping your eyes on your phone 24/7. My personal favorite was when Rego announced that women need to stop shouting "WHERE DID I PARK" when they're trying to find their cars,  because I've done just that, several times — though I completely denied it to the class. 

We then moved on to some self defense moves, and I partnered with Josh McPherson's wife, Lauren, because you know, I thought I could take her.

Turns out I could not. 

She grabbed my wrists, threw me down and almost kneed me in the face. I thought maybe her strength came from holding their 3-month-old son all the time, but according to Josh, she's a former dancer, and her core strength alone could take us all down. 

Despite the huge distance between our strength and skill levels, I think we both managed to learn the basic moves of self-defense and more importantly, to just avoid walking in parking lots alone at night. 

We then moved on to the active shooter portion of the class, where we learned the "Run, Hide, Fight," plan that a lot of people are adovcating for. Though running is obviously the best option out of the three, Rego wanted us to get a first-hand feel for what it felt like to fight as a group, which can be a very effective way to take a shooter down. Even if some casualities happen in the process, logically, it can save more lives than if everyone spilts up. 

With that terrifying thought in my head and hoping that I never find myself in that situation, Rego ran through an active shooter scenario four times. Each time we lost a warning, light and even a sense of when the attack was coming. In the final run-through, he added a strobe light and music and transformed the dojo into a nightclub. The reality of how quickly something can happen — and how long it took me to realize what was going on — sort of made me never want to leave my house. Well at first anyway. 

Because see, that's not the point of attending these seminars. Rego made sure we knew that he didn't want us to be paraniod. And though violence seems to be everywhere now, it's not a reason enough to hide out and stop living your life. We just have to adjust, be more aware and maybe learn how to get out of a wrist grab. 

There's a lot in this world we can't control, but that doesn't mean we should forget about what we can. 

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