The Belvidere Police Department runs a self-defense course for women. | New

BELVIDERE (WREX) – Belvidere police officers are giving the community a chance to learn about self-defense.

The Belvidere Police Department held a self-defense class for women on Saturday, trying to make the community safer.

Belvidere Police Officer Matthew Shook says everyone should have these skills but hopes they will never be needed.

“Sometimes they need to learn how to break out of that mold and be obnoxious and loud, especially in this situation where they can be seen as prey,” says Shook. “Being loud and obnoxious can really get them out of that victim mentality or even get them out of the abuser and see them as a victim.”

Those who attended the classes learned many important things, including situational awareness, how to do a choke, and weight distribution. Officers say the most important thing to know is how to avoid danger and what to do if they are attacked.

Tara Caruana was one of the people who went to class on Saturday. She says she brings home vital information as well as new skills she didn’t have before.

“I learned new techniques on how to fall and fall from an attack,” says Caruana. “I also learned to strike with the center of the palm instead of the fist to avoid breaking my hand.”

One of the reasons Caruana said she wanted to be on Saturday’s defense class is because of things she has personally experienced.

“When I heard it [officers] saying that grocery store parking lots were the biggest place of kidnapping, that really resonated with me,” Caruana says. very focused.”

Kaitlyn Bragg, who also attended Saturday’s class, says the things she learned are things everyone should know.

“I think there should be more classes like this and a lot of women should learn to take care of themselves because we shouldn’t be victims,” ​​Bragg says.

Officer Matthew Shook agrees, but says it’s not just about fights, but about little things you can do every day to avoid becoming a victim.

“We try to teach a system every time it enters a new environment to go through these things, to look around to see what can be used as a weapon, to see where the exits are and to see the baseline or order,” Shook said. . “If they have this system and do it every time, I think that’s a good thing.”

Officer Shook says there are other self-defense classes taking place across the Stateline, including Krav Maga classes in Rockford, Pride Jiu-Jitsu in Rockton, and Core Combat Martial Arts in Loves Park.

Kristen T. Prall