In a country where one in three women is sexually abused, a local dojo is opening its doors and laying down some self-defense knowledge.
York Shotokan Karate and Mixed Martial Arts will hold a free workshop exclusively for women on Saturday, said Sensei Tony Abel.
The volunteer-run school has held free workshops before, but this is perhaps the first time it's held one in honor of Mother's Day, he said.
Abel will instruct the workshop, which will cover awareness, attitude, what to avoid, what to have with you that can be used as a weapon and where to strike, he said.
The goal and philosophy of the school, which Abel took over in 1976, is to help people protect themselves, he said.
"I find it amazing that we as human beings do such things to hurt other human beings," Abel said. "I think it's extraordinarily important that all women know how to defend themselves."
Protect yourself: He has teamed up with Miss York County 2014 Tristalyn Bixler-Kint to present the hands-on workshop. As a survivor of sexual assault, she has used her experience as a platform to educate others about awareness.
Bixler-Kint will attend the workshop and speak about her experience. She said if she had known more about awareness and self-defense, that might have helped her avoid that situation.
"It's such a serious thing because you don't know whether you might be attacked," Bixler-Kint said.
She's attended a clinic at the school before and said that it's helpful to go with a partner — this time, she'll bring her mom.
"It's really a warm environment," Bixler-Kint said. "It's a lot of fun."
And attacks aren't limited to those sexual in nature — people can attack you because they want your purse or belongings, she said.
"Just to be able to defend yourself is something that you then feel empowered by," she said.
If the clinic is successful, the school will most likely do another one, Bixler-Kint said.
The program: Women with any level of experience are invited to attend, Abel said. They should wear typical gym attire — sweatpants and a T-shirt — and the class will be held barefoot, he said.
It will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at the school, 3195 East Prospect Road in Windsor Township.
No registration is necessary, and attendees can simply show up at the dojo ready to learn, Abel said.
"Just be willing to be a sponge that day," he said.
Attendees do not have to stay for the whole three-hour program, Abel said.
"They don't have to, but I can almost guarantee they'll want to," he said.