Sifu Randy Williams to teach self-defense class to women March 19 at A.C. Fitness in Wilkes-Barre
WILKES-BARRE — The information Randy Williams has to share could save your life.
During a four-hour self-defense class for women, planned for March 19, at A.C. Fitness on Route 315, Williams, who is a master in the Wing Chun Gung Fu martial art, will teach techniques for repelling violent attacks.
But he’ll also offer tips on the best strategy — prevention.
“I do give a lot of pointers about how to avoid the situation,” Williams said last week, shortly before boarding a plane for London, where he was scheduled to teach other self-defense courses. “I tell women to make eye contact and not to look like a victim. A lot of attacks happen when women are looking at their cell phone, not paying attention to their surroundings.
“Most women are hip to common-sense self-defense things” such as having your car keys ready in your hand so you don’t have to fumble for them when you approach your car, Williams said, adding he covers strategies many people haven’t considered.
For example, he said, a woman who lives alone might want to “just inside the front door have a little end table with a tray and leave cash or something like a piece of jewelry and possibly even — this sounds ridiculous — a picture of themselves, maybe even wearing a bikini. That’s because, you probably know, a lot of attacks and murders happen where an attacker has stalked someone for a long time. Then he’ll break into her home and wait for her.
“But when someone breaks into the house what they do is walk around and look for souvenirs, like money or a picture of the woman who lives there. If you open the door and see it’s gone, you’ll know not to go in.”
When a violent situation can’t be avoided, Williams shows his students how to fight.
“I’ll show them what to do when a guy’s sitting on top of them, punching or or trying to strangle them, what to do if someone grabs them by the wrist or grabs them by the hair and pushes them against a wall.”
Knees, elbows, thumbs, or a head butt can all come into play. So can saliva.
“Weird as this may sound, I advise them to spit in some situations. I also recommend things like mace or pepper spray, or personal alarms that let out an ear-piercing siren and there’s no way to shut it off, not even if you stomp on it or set it on fire.”
A.C. Fitness owner Robert Tambur, who also owns Isabella Restaurant, said he was eager to bring Williams in for a class because he’s concerned about women’s safety. “I have a wife and daughter,” he said. “And we have restaurant people who leave work at 10 at night. Then a lot of nurses come to the club and tell me about leaving work at 3, 4 or 5 in the morning.”
“We have a high-quality instructor in Randy Williams,” Tambur said. “I think it’s good for the area and good for women to know how to stay out of trouble, or if trouble comes along, how to handle it.”
Williams, a Forest City resident who has worked as a bodyguard for celebrities in addition to teaching self-defense, said women should dress comfortably for the class, with “nothing they don’t want to get dirty, because we’re going to go to the mat.” Ideally, they should wear sneakers with smooth soles so anyone playing the role of an attacker doesn’t get hurt by a shoe.
“I’ll have them work the techniques over and over and over,” he said, and then participants will be called upon to think quickly about how they’d respond to different situations.
Women can bring a husband or boyfriend to help them practice and remember what they’ve learned, and they may want to bring a notebook or camera to record the class.
“This will be a few hours where they’re expected to pay attention and be serious,” he said. “It’s not a joke. These techniques are designed to save your life.”
Reach Mary Therese Biebel at 570-991-6109 or on Twitter @BiebelMT
IF YOU GO
What: Self-defense class for women
Who: Taught by Sifu Randy Williams
When: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 19
Where: A.C. Fitness, 1140 Route 315, Wilkes-Barre