Defensive move
Spc. Catuma Jones-Gibbs practices a defensive move on Pfc. Aaliyah Woods during a self-defense class for female members of the Field Artillery Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment in the Warrior Way Physical Fitness Center at Fort Hood, Texas, April 13. (Photo Credit: Brandy Cruz, Fort Hood Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT HOOD, Texas - Females in 3rd Cavalry Regiment learned self-defense techniques that will help protect them physically, while also providing them with the confidence they need to empower themselves to fight back.

During a Sexual Harassment/Assault Response Prevention program training lesson at Warrior Way Physical Fitness Center here, April 13, female Soldiers and civilians learned about the changes to Army SHARP, as well as the different reporting options in a more discussion-style lesson. The participants were encouraged to ask questions, speak up and share information.

Capt. Ashley Zeitvogel, a sexual assault response coordinator for Field Artillery Squadron, 3rd Cav. Regt., explained the different reporting options for sexual harassment and sexual assault, while she simultaneously found out how much information the women already knew about reporting. She added that it doesn’t just have to be the victim who speaks out. She explained how bystanders can also intervene and prevent sexual harassment and sexual assault.

“Hopefully, they gained some confidence to stand-up in uncomfortable situations and come together as a cohort of women who stick up for one another,” Zeitvogel said.

After the SHARP lesson, instructors from McCarthy’s Taekwondo Self Defense demonstrated self-defense techniques to help combat an attacker of any kind.

Lascelles McCarthy II, grand master and 8th-degree black belt, led the group as they learned how to use an attacker’s own body weight against him or her.

“You can defend yourself,” McCarthy said. “I don’t care if he’s 6-foot and you’re 5-foot, you can still defend yourself.”

While the small females looked skeptical, within a matter of minutes, they could see for themselves how simple things they do can stop an attack in its tracks.

“This class taught me that if an attacker comes my way, I need to know how to defend myself and to not think I can’t do it because I think I’m weak,” Spc. Laetitia Morisset said about the training.

McCarthy showed the group that even the most menacing of attacks can be thwarted by knowing how to respond. He and Pamela Grant, a master instructor with McCarthy’s Taekwondo Self Defense, demonstrated 10 different attacks an assailant could use on a person, as well as how to counteract the attack. Some of the attacks included strangulation, a weapon, head lock, bear hug and more.

“I liked the skill where we block a punch,” Spc. Tattiana Martin shared. “I think it’s really important to have different ways to defend yourself, and that technique was fun to practice.”

Sgt. 1st Class Ashlee Ibarra discusses a SHARP pamphlet with Pfc. Rebecca Collins during a training session at Fort Hood, Texas, April 13. (Photo Credit: Brandy Cruz, Fort Hood Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL

Sgt. 1st Class Ashlee Ibarra, the regimental noncommissioned officer-in-charge of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense, who also helps run the Sisters-in-Arms program, said she organized the event as a way to help give the Soldiers the confidence to defend themselves.

“There’s crime everywhere. We just want to prepare the Soldiers in case they find themselves in a dangerous situation. These techniques can be used if you’re walking down the street and someone tries to take your purse or someone attacks you in an alley,” she added. “This is just an introduction, but anything we can provide to give them the confidence is what we will do.”

Ibarra said the same class will be given to male Soldiers when the unit returns from the National Training Center. Spc. Catyna Jones-Gibbs hopes they will also have a combined male and female class coming up.

“A lot of the females work around males and I’ve heard some of them say they think they are weaker than their fellow male troopers,” Jones-Gibbs said. “These classes help us build our confidence as females and teach us that we can fight back. I look forward to more classes like these where males can come train with us so we can show them we are just as strong as they are.”