Self Defense Classes Increase Enrollment Despite Decrease in Crime
COLUMBIA - High kicks, low punches, and sweat describes Jeff Hockman's self-defense class called Karv Maga. Hockman, owner of Hockman ATA Martial Arts, said because of the recent crimes in Columbia, more people have decided to sign up to take his class.
"We noticed, probably about a year ago, we were having people look for just self-defense classes," Hockman said. "They weren't looking for traditional marital arts, and that's when we incorporated our Krav Maga program."
Krav Maga is a form of self-defense that teaches basic practical movements to avoid being an easy target. It is through this class that Hockman has seen a growing influx of interest.
"People are actually reaching out and looking for self-defense," Hockman said. "They want to be empowered, they want to have the confidence, they want to be able to believe in themselves that they could actually use this if they had to."
Garnett Matthews, a mother and wife, is also a student at Hockman ATA Martial Arts. Matthews said she first enrolled her kids in martial arts classes, but eventually she and her husband signed up as well.
"After a while, my husband and I decided that we wanted to try it, so we decided to sign up, and then the whole family was going, and we've been slowly progressing through the belts together," Matthews said.
Although some people within the community are reaching out for self-defense classes, Latisha Stroer of the Columbia Police Department said this recent trend is not because of a rise in crime.
According to CPD's Uniform Crime Reporting for 2012, police investigated 41 cases of rape and 270 cases of aggravated assault. So far this year, thre report says forcible rape rose to 53 and aggravated assault decreased to 200.
Officer Stroer said this rise in forcible rape is actually because the FBI recently changed the definition of rape.
"Right now the definition has changed and so what is being reported as rape, before was only reported as a sex offense other," Officer Stroer said.
Although some crime within Columbia has decreased, Garnett Matthews said she believes that the classes have given her and her family tools to use if they need them.
The Columbia Police Department also offers various tips to avoid potentially dangerous situations on its website.