Church plans self-defense class

Published 9:07 pm Friday, January 27, 2017

A Suffolk church will host a self-defense class for women next week, taught by a member who is a certified martial arts instructor.

“It’s a passion of mine,” said Jim Esposito, who will teach the free class at Liberty Baptist Church. “Having a wife and two daughters, it’s always been a passion of mine to teach them how to defend themselves while they’re out there, not having to worry about every little thing.”

Esposito said he’s been involved in martial arts for about 20 years and has adapted the course from a number of different martial arts and a street-fighting system.

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But no experience is necessary for women to be able to implement the moves.

“It’s something women can learn very quickly, without having to have any background in martial arts or fighting or anything like that,” Esposito said.

In addition to actual self-defense moves, the course also goes over the psychology of the predator, practical steps to prevent becoming a target and being aware of your surroundings.

“We go over things like awareness, setting boundaries and being aware of when somebody breaks through your boundaries,” he said. “We’re also going to talk about some things you can do to prevent yourself from becoming a victim.”

Esposito said any participant, no matter their fitness level, should be able to participate.

“We don’t ask them to do something they can’t handle, because self-defense is for everybody,” he said. “It’s not just for people who are fit, because anybody can be attacked at any time.”

Esposito said the course will give women the knowledge they need to prevent becoming a victim.

“Women have this natural protective instinct, but sometimes they’re not able to act on that instinct, because they don’t have the skills to do it,” he said. “This gives them the skills to act on it.”

Esposito has taught the course several times at various locations and has had anywhere from 15 to 35 participants each time.

“The participants will get certificates, and they’ll walk away feeling empowered and feeling energized,” he said. “They’ll get a little bit of a workout. It’s about self-confidence.”

The course is free and open to any woman age 16 or older. A parent will need to sign a release form for those ages 16 and 17.

The class will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 4 at Liberty Baptist Church Outreach Center, 116 Romans Road. Pre-registration is required. To register, visit