ANSBACH, Germany -- A sense of security can go a long way in making anyone feel more comfortable. Soldiers who participate in the International Martial Arts Self Defense Class held on Katterbach Kaserne, Ansbach, Germany, are strengthening that sense through their ability to defend themselves and others.

"Practically all of our Soldiers are away from home, and this activity provides them with something to do during their spare time," said Eddie Guevara, the International Martial Arts Self Defense Class (IMA-SDC) Sensei (instructor).

The IMA-SDC, not only gives Soldiers something they could find at home, but also an opportunity to cultivate new friendships, and feel more secure in their new environment.

Guevara, who is the founder of the class, saw the need for Soldiers to have something to do other than the average trip to the movie theatre or bowling alley, and decided to offer something productive for them to do in their free time.

Several Soldiers expressed interest in martial arts and once they looked into finding a place that offered lessons, the closest available classes they could find at that time were off post in the downtown area of Ansbach, Germany.

"I've always wanted to learn Martial Arts, and how to properly defend myself, " said Caroline Riggens, a member of the class.

Wanting to offer Soldiers a chance to learn the art form on post, Guevara reached out to the U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS) program. He offered to design and teach a program that would help students not only learn how to defend themselves, but also give them a chance to improve their self-esteem and confidence.

The IMA-SDC is a small intimate class that caters to each student's personal goals. Although it falls under the BOSS program, the course is open to anyone who has access to the installation, to include family members, Department of Defense Civilians, and Local Nationals.

The class is designed for all skill levels, which start from the beginner level, a white belt, all the way up to the most advanced level, a black belt. Guevara takes the time to assess each student's skills, and offers one-on-one training to more inexperienced martial artists.

"This class is really great, we have two black belts and one brown belt," said Caroline Riggens. "It's not just Sensei, we have other teachers that we can learn from."

Guevara often gives his students the opportunity to share techniques they have previously learned with the class. Students who attend often develop lasting relationships with each other due to their shared interest in the art form.

"We get to meet people in the community who are like-minded," said Anthony Riggens, marketing accountant for the Morale, Welfare, and Recreational Services, and spouse of Caroline Riggens."We have a great group of people. We integrate very well."

The class not only built lasting friendships, it helped the students improve their self-esteem and boost their confidence, while also improving their ability to defend themselves.

Like most people, Caroline Riggens is the type of person that does not like to go out alone when it is dark. Although Germany is known to be a safe country, she still has her reservations. The class has been able to give her a much needed boost of confidence.

During the class, students learn various techniques on how to defend themselves should they ever find themselves in a situation where it is needed. They focus on their reflexes and how they should react.

The class meets weekly on Wednesdays at the American Legion Post 1982 in building 5515 on Katterbach Kaserne, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The class is free, the only requirement is that you must be in good health.

For more information please contact your local BOSS representative or email Eddie Guevara at: