After reading my column about the female self-defense training offered by Sarasota’s Advanced Defensive Concepts, the folks in charge of my newspaper quickly invited the tactical trainers to teach a class here, for our female employees.
“We have a lot of females who deliver papers in the middle of the night. We have reporters who are sent to an array of challenging situations. Providing these skills to all female employees to use in their daily work is vital,” said Danielle Brown, our HR director.
Danielle took the training too.
“I had a great time,” she said.
We held the first class Thursday night in the paper’s community room. It was free of charge for the employees. That’s important.
The training was incredibly well received — wildly received. In fact, the women want more classes, and several expressed interest in purchasing firearms for home defense.
“It was fun and informative,” one of the students wrote in an email to Danielle and me.
“They’re honest, and they told it like it is,” said another. “They didn’t sugar-coat what can happen to you.”
“My wrists are a little sore, but I loved it,” several said.
“They’re all such nice guys!” about half of the students told me.
ADC’s owner Marc Pezzella, a retired Sheriff’s Office lieutenant and SWAT team commander, and his instructors have created a great program designed specifically for women.
It’s a real-world, no-frills course — “all muscle, no fat,” the guys at ADC say.
“Our main goal is to keep you safe,” Marc told the students. “I don’t want to see any of you become a victim. If there is one thing that we can pass on to make you not become a victim, then we win.”
The first half of the class, delivered via PowerPoint, teaches situational awareness and how to avoid becoming a victim.
This is key. If you can avoid a use-of-force encounter, you automatically win.
“Your true weapon is your mind,” Marc said. “Your Mace, knife, ballbat, firearm — they’re just tools.”
His instructors, who have backgrounds in law enforcement, the military and MMA, quickly won over the group.
There were absolutely zero “There-I-was-knee-deep-in-grenade-pins” stories.
Instead, the guys offered examples of crimes and encounters that were local — they occurred in Sarasota County — which hit home hard.
The second half of the class consisted of wrist escapes, eye gouges and how to get away an from an assailant who has you pinned to the ground.
Again, they were real-world techniques that work.
I’m proud my newspaper opted to offer the training. It’s a tremendous perk, and I challenge other businesses in the region to do likewise.
Like Marc said, if one life can be saved, if one attack can be averted, everyone wins.
Enjoy these pictures from the class, all taken by H-T photo editor Mike Lang.