Learn self-defense tactics at Davie Y

Published 9:36 am Thursday, June 28, 2018

If you’ve ever felt nervous walking alone in a parking lot or just uncomfortable for no specific reason, you are not alone.

Recognizing the need to build at the confidence and self-awareness, as well as teach self-defense techniques, Pearl Holston, a personal trainer and group fitness instructor at the Davie Family YMCA, began a self-defense class for this purpose.

Holston developed a four-hour class with an introduction to ideas of personal, environmental, and situational safety. Participants spend time discussing how to make themselves a harder target for those looking to victimize others and how to make decisions that improve their safety in various situations.

Much of the presentation centers on how to avoid a fight and run away, which is always preferable to engaging in a fight. Participants discuss how to recognize a threat and when to react. The physical portion of the class includes striking, grab and grip breaks, bear hugs, choke brakes, an introduction to ground fighting, and any additional concerns raised by participants.  Weapons and improvised weapons are also discussed.

Several members of the Y have taken the class multiple times, either to hone techniques or to invite friends and family members to join them. Davie member Barbara Laymon has taken the class twice and highly recommends it.

“It’s amazing how much more confident I feel after working with Pearl,” she said. “We can’t ever take our personal safety for granted.”

Will Marklin has attended several classes with his daughter, Sarah West.  “I’m so glad I had the opportunity to take Pearl’s class with my daughter,” he said.  “Everyone needs to learn the basics of self -defense.”

Holston has a long history of law enforcement and self -defense. Having served with the Fairbanks, Alaska, Police Department from 1999-2011, she began learning Kenpo Karate while attending the police academy in Anchorage. After moving to Fairbanks, Holston began boxing, attending ground fighting seminars, and taking pressure point control tactics classes.

“I figured I was never going to be the biggest or the strongest, so I better know what I was doing in a fight,” she said.

Holston found her niche with “One on One Control Tactics,” a system of control taught by Retired Trooper Steve Jimerfield. After a friend was killed on duty in a ground fight, Jimerfield created the system involving  leverage, precision, and bio-mechanics to help officers learn to fight effectively standing and on the ground.  Holston became certified in the system and taught control tactics re-certifications in the Fairbanks PD until she left for the private sector.

With Jimerfield’s blessing, Pearl Holston began teaching self- defense classes using his system.  Her first session was a group of Girl Scouts at Stokes YMCA.  “They had a blast, and so did I.”

After locating to the Davie YMCA five years ago, she is focused on bringing more opportunities for learning self -defense  techniques to the community.  She has taught classes geared specifically toward seniors, middle-school girls, girls headed to college, and youth.

While most classes follow the four-hour format, the July classes at the Davie Y will follow more of a bootcamp style. The self-defense bootcamp will run from 6-7 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday evenings for four weeks. The fee for YMCA members is $75 and $100. for potential members. A traditional four-hour class is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 18 with a fee of $40 for Y members and  $100 for potential members.  Registration is required for both options.

Holston is passionate about sharing her self-defense knowledge. Most participants are surprised at how easy the techniques are to learn. “I always tell them they won’t have the time to think about what to do when the situation arises. That’s why we practice.”

For more information on the self-defense classes, call the Davie YMCA at 336-751-9622 or stop by the front desk for information.  Updates will also be posted on the Y Facebook page.