ORWIGSBURG – Participants in a self-defense class offered by Schaeffer’s Harley-Davidson say they signed up for the women’s-only class for a variety of reasons.
“I wanted to learn more about self defense and raise my awareness,” said Jessica Florkowski, of Kempton.
“I want to feel more confident when I’m alone,” said Donna Dukmen of Orwigsburg. “And if I see someone else in a situation, I can help them.”
The course, four two-hour sessions, is taught by Dale Trythall Jr., a Reading policeman and Schaeffer University riding instructor.
Trythall has been a Self Defense Instructor with Rape Aggression Defense Systems, or RAD, since 2006.
“I’ve been a police officer for 27 years,” Trythall said during Tuesday’s class. “I have seen domestic violence and assaults.”
The RAD program teaches women self-defense skills through risk awareness, risk reduction, risk recognition and risk avoidance.
Classroom techniques are taught based on situations that women may encounter, such as having a man put his arm around them, grab them, or suffocate them.
Trythall said the first thing he told his students was to say no.
“If you say no, and he doesn’t stop, he shows he has no respect for you,” Trythall said. “It gives you the right to do something to protect yourself.”
The goal is to help women avoid a physical fight and do only what is necessary to get away from an attacker, Trythall said.
Techniques include targeting certain areas, such as the eyes or throat, which will cause the attacker to let go.
“There is always something open and something you can do to defend yourself,” Trythall said.
On Tuesday, 12 women attended the class, where they reviewed what they had learned the previous week and reviewed other techniques.
Florkowski said she found the various typing techniques useful and would recommend the class to other women.
Dukmen said that while she hopes nothing ever happens, she will at least be prepared after taking the course.
She also said it was a good opportunity to contribute to the Muscular Dystrophy Association as the $ 40 fee for the class will be donated to MDA.
Shaeffer’s Harley-Davidson Controller Cherie Bogotuik said Trythall offered to teach the class at the dealership near Orwigsburg, and she thought it would be a good opportunity to educate women in the community.
“As women, we can always benefit from it,” Bogotuik said.
Bogotuik said if more people show interest, more classes will be offered.
Trythall hopes to empower more women and debunk the myth that women are weak or submissive.
“Women can’t always count on others,” he said. “Whatever happens, they will now know a little more about how to defend themselves.”