Self-defense instructor gives some basic tips

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE National statistics show more women than men are the victims of sexual assault, but anyone could be a target.

Maj. Tyrone Bess, deputy commander of the 5th Security Forces Squadron at Minot Air Force Base, teaches the Gracie Women Empowered Program, a self-defense program, to military members and spouses. He was instrumental in bringing the program to the Minot base this past spring. As a result of a one-week intense training for 80 women and 20 men conducted by Gracie Academy officials from California, now those 100 people are certified to teach the program.

For those who have not gone through the program, Bess provides some basic tips on what people can do to help protect themselves from being the target of a predator.

“The biggest thing is don’t be the very unsuspecting target,” he said.

He said when a person leaves a shopping center, another store or their favorite restaurant and they’re texting on the way to your car, they should say, ‘Hey, this might wait a second.’ ” He said instead of being preoccupied, for example with texting, a person should make sure they are safe and that no one is around watching them as they go to their car.

He said women in the Women Empowered Program classes at Minot AFB say they are using strategies like this one just to make themselves more aware of their surroundings.

He said one of the main things for people to do is just general awareness.

“If you’re going to and from anyplace, any time you can have more than one person with you, the better,” he said.

He said that isn’t always possible. But always, he said, “pay attention to who’s around you what your environment is. “If you have to go down an alley to park your car, maybe you don’t do that. Maybe you park your car out in the open area,” he said.

“If you are somewhere that you do feel uncomfortable, then get yourself on the phone with a friend so that way if something were to happen, somebody knows where you are, you’re talking to somebody and talking about what you see and what is around you,” he said.

“Make yourself that hard target don’t be that unsuspecting target. That’s the first thing,” he said.

When people are working 24/7 at businesses, he said it is a good idea to have people walk others out to their car. “And in those cases there always should be three people,” he said.

Otherwise, he said when one person gets into their vehicle, the other person then is left alone outside. “There should be three people together so two go back inside the building together. “That’s responsible. It’s not being overly cautious but you’re making yourself that hard target,” he said.