FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. - About 65 military spouses and children laughed at a juggler's antics, shouted at imaginary attackers and learned different how to keep themselves safe at the Heart Camouflage Safe Spouse seminar Feb. 6, at the Honeycutt Recreation Center in Fayetteville.

After Chris "Juggle Boy" Fowler amazed the audience with his skills, organizations such as the City of Fayetteville Police Department's Crime Prevention unit, Gold's Gym and Musha Dojo gave demonstrations about different aspects of self-defense.

Crime Prevention Specialists Kathleen Ruppert, LaToya Gordon and Connie King spoke about security at home and in the car. "Be alert and be aware," cautioned Ruppert.

Shiann Adams from Gold's Gym warmed up the crowd with some body combat moves before moving on to palm-heel, elbow and knee strikes taught by Lioni Velasquez, lead instructor at Musha Dojo in Fayetteville.

"Don't stop fighting. You don't want to be the victim, you want to be the victor," he said.

Denise Jones, wife of Staff Sgt. Randolph Jones, 122nd Aviation Support Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, came to the Safe Spouse seminar to learn more about self-defense.

"With (my husband) being out of town all the time, in a town that I'm not used to... no Family members, it's something he wants me to get involved with, take other self-defense classes so I know what I'm doing. I have two grandkids and a daughter in the house. It's something that needs to be taken care of and fast," she said.

Others were here for more information.

"(I want to learn about) what's going on in your surroundings and see what they have to say," said Melissa Hickman, wife of Master Sgt. Brent Hickman, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Christine Poirier, wife of Maj. Michael Poirier, 95th Civil Affairs Brigade, and her daughter, Jacqueline, 3, came out to do some homework.

"I am our neighborhood watch coordinator. I'm here to learn what's going to be put out and do a synopsis and send it to my neighbors," she said.

Barbara Thompson, the founder of Heart Camouflage, began the organization to raise awareness about the hardship that military wives face when they're left home alone, something she has personally experienced.

"My husband (Specialist Carlos Thompson, 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st BCT 82nd Abn. Div.) is in the military. I used to be a deputy sheriff with Cumberland County. I have four children. It was very hard for me to manage my law enforcement career along with my children and different things like that. When my husband left (on deployment), I noticed my performance went downhill," she said.

With women and children screaming "peanut" and "fire" while practicing an elbow strike, it seemed everyone was letting out their frustrations and stress at the seminar.
"It's going well," said Thompson. "I hope to do a lot more."

Heart Camouflage also provides Web based support using social networks such as MySpace and Facebook. For more information, contact Heart Camouflage at 778-1828 or services@heartcamouflage.com.