It’s a position no woman ever wants to find herself in, but knowing how to protect yourself could mean the difference in surviving an attack or becoming a victim, say self-defense experts.

The Barren County Family YMCA recently offered the Zero Scared Program, a four-week self-defense course for women.

About 10 people, including two children participated in the program.

Participants learned basic quick response self-defense moves.

“These were simple moves everyone can remember,” said YMCA Instructor Tony Bishop, who taught the class.

Part kick boxing and part martial arts, the program teaches the four A’s: awareness, attention, attitude and action/attack. The group learned how to block a punch, deliver a palm strike and other basic martial arts moves with origins in Kung Fu and Wing Chung.

“Knowing you can protect yourself gives you an air of confidence,” said Rita Anderson, who took the class with her 10-year-old daughter, Kelly.

“My daughter and I wanted to do something at the YMCA together,” explained Anderson. “I thought it [the class] was something needed for children her age.”

Almost any item can be used as a weapon for protection, including car keys, a purse, or even hair spray to fight off an attacker.

But perhaps even more important than knowing how to defend against an attack is knowing how to avoid becoming a victim in the first place.

Being alert, looking confident and not appearing like an easy target are all key, say experts.

“It really brought it home to me. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings,” Anderson said.

“It’s a great idea,” she continued, saying that she and her daughter benefited both physically and mentally from participating in the self-defense program at the YMCA.

In fact, “I would love to take the class again,” Anderson said.

The Zero Scared Program will likely be offered at the YMCA again, but no date has been set, Bishop said.

For more information on self-defense or other classes, contact the Y at 651-7599.

Contact Stacy Neitzel by emailing


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