IOGKF helps provided safer communites after USA murders

Tragic murders were committed in the area of an IOGKF Dojo in San Diego recently. With members of the San Diego community becoming quite alarmed for their own safety, Sensei Steve Duz and members of his Dojo offered Free Self Defence classes, which received overwhelming results. The Fox network also interview IOGKF Instructors for top self defence tips for situations like these...



IOGKF San Diego Dojo member, Michelle Roether, took the time to reflect on the tragedy that had engulfed her local community in fear and offered some sound advice to not only members of her dojo, but to young women everywhere...

I wanted to take a moment to write about the recent tragedy in our community. I didn’t know Chelsea King personally, but everybody knows someone like Chelsea King and can imagine how horrible it would be to lose such a person. As a community I think we are in disbelief that something like this could happen right under our very noses and so close to home - Closer for some than others. I live in Westwood, on Matinal Road, only a few houses away from where the man accused of her murder was staying. I have been hiking with my friends at Lake Hodges since I was in Middle School. The idea that this could have been me, this could have been one of my friends, this could have been any of the young girls at our dojo, is a completely horrifying thought. I don’t know how I would feel in such a situation and so the only thing I can say is that my deepest condolences go out to this young girl’s family and friends.

The severity of the situation is one that is almost unfathomable to me. I am 23 years old and a 2nd degree black belt, and I have absolutely no certainty that I could defend myself in such a situation, because, let’s face it, I’ve never had too. I’ve heard that the girl who was attacked by this man last December and managed to get away took martial arts as a child. One has to wonder, did that really have anything to do with her ability to defend herself or was it just plain luck? The idea of martial arts is a comforting one, and one that gives a lot of people a false sense of security. All it takes is one well-timed attack when your guard is down and all the self defence moves in the world won’t save you then. It seems to me the best defence we can try and teach our kids and ourselves is that of awareness. Being aware of your surroundings. Being aware of the people around you. Never going anywhere that’s secluded or doesn’t seem safe - especially by yourself. The scary part about all of this is the fact that Chelsea King was in an area that is widely used, in the middle of the day. Which I suppose only shows us that we can never be too careful.

Having said all that, I don’t want people to think I’m saying that martial arts won’t help you defend yourself. The way I see it, every situation is circumstantial and we can never know what those circumstances will be. Because of this, the best thing to do is prepare yourself in as many ways as possible in the hopes that you never find yourself in the situation that requires you to put them to the test. I would really like to think that all my years of training in Karate have adequately prepared me to do what’s necessary in a life threatening situation. I would like to think I would have the ability to come out on top. I know for certain, that I would put up one hell of a fight.

Karate has helped to make me aware that the possibility of these situations is real and that one of the best things you can do to prepare yourself for them, is to decide beforehand not to be a victim and to do whatever it takes to fight for your life. But that determination alone is not enough. I think martial arts are such an important thing for girls, especially young girls, and sadly that is the demographic that martial arts see the least of. For that age range of girls, martial arts are the last thing they want to do and they are the people who would benefit from it the most. I heard the other day that one of our moms had said that she thought every girl should be in Karate and that her girls didn’t have the choice to quit. I wish every parent felt the same way. I have also heard a story of one of our 12 year old students who was surprised one day when her uncle playfully grabbed her from behind, and her instinctive response was to kick him in the head. If only we could embed that sort of response into every young girl.

I know that surely everybody will be dealing with this situation in their own way. My only hope is that the result does not petrify people with fear. Rather than decide something drastic like, ‘I’ll never let my daughter out of the house again’ or, ‘I’ll never set foot near Lake Hodges again’, I hope this tragedy will help people to become more aware. Parents should be talking to their kids about it. Young girls should be aware of the possibility that they could one day be faced with something like this, and decide what they will do to prepare themselves for it. And finally, everybody should be appreciating all of the important people in their lives and not taking the time we have together for granted.