Imagine walking down the street, shopping bags in hand and car keys buried inside your purse.
Unexpectedly, someone approaches and attacks you.
Would you know what to do?
Instructors Sean Strong and Joe Sproveri hosted a self-defense class at the YMCA recently, outlining various situations and methods to get away from an attacker.
"If you can run and get out of it, get out of it," said Strong, who is martial arts certified and holds two black belts and a green belt in ground fighting. "If not, be prepared to fight."
Strong noted that the mouth is the biggest weapon in self-defense, because being vocal is important to draw attention to a potentially harmful situation and can scare away the attacker.
Strong also advised against carrying pepper spray.
"Your attacker could take it from you and use it against you," he said.
Strong demonstrated the proper way to carry a set of keys. He instructed to always hold them in the non-dominant hand, leaving the stronger hand and arm available for defense. The largest key should lay flat, with your hand in a fist around it with the thumb holding it in place.
The scenario: Attacked from behind while walking to a vehicle.
"If you know you're being followed, do not go to your car," Strong said, adding that it is easier to get trapped inside by attempting to open the car door.
If someone grabs your wrist while walking to your car, straighten your hand and grab the wrist of the attacker, twisting their arm. Step left as you turn, using your keys to injure the attacker and break their arm with your free elbow.
The scenario: Trapped in a vehicle with the attacker.
Strong advised to begin driving the car, and as you drive, be on the lookout for a male driver alone in a vehicle to get into a minor accident with.
Strong said the accident would draw attention to the situation and most likely bring police to the scene, where a person could explain the description of the attacker and alert police they are on the run.
"The most important thing is that you get to go home," he emphasized.
The scenario: Domestic violence or rape situation.
"They're not playing games, they want to hurt you," said Strong.
If you are pinned down, at the point where the attacker lets go of your hands, Strong instructed to keep your face and chest covered. Buck the attacker by thrusting your hips, so they fall forward, and wrap your right arm around their elbow. Strong instructed to drop your right leg to the ground and bend your left, and in a fluid motion, use your bent leg and flip them on their back. Once you are on top of them, rub your knuckles into their sternum for instant pain or punch their chest, said Strong.
The scenario: Headlock.
If an attacker puts you in a headlock, Strong instructed to bend the knees, pop the shoulders up and grab the inner thigh of the person with your left hand. Pop your behind away from their body, causing them to lose balance, and you have the upper-hand.
The next self-defense class will be Aug. 20, followed by Sept. 10, Oct. 29, Nov. 12 and Dec. 17.
For more information, contact the Warren YMCA at 726-0110 or visit www.warrenymca.org.