Signal brigade hosts self-defense course for sexual assault awareness

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Joe A. Garcia, a United States Naval Criminal Investigative Service Special Agent speaks about the importance of being aware of surroundings to Soldiers of the 1st Signal Brigade at the 1st Signal Brigade Sexual Harassment/Assault Response Prevention (SHARP) self-defense class at USAG Yongsan April 18, 2014. Garcia was the head instructor of the week-long course self-defense course and also teaches weekly classes at Yongsan. (U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Gregory T. Summers)
Joe A. Garcia, a United States Naval Criminal Investigative Service Special Agent speaks about the importance of being aware of surroundings to Soldiers of the 1st Signal Brigade at the 1st Signal Brigade Sexual Harassment/Assault Response Prevention (SHARP) self-defense class at USAG Yongsan April 18, 2014. Garcia was the head instructor of the week-long course self-defense course and also teaches weekly classes at Yongsan. (U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Gregory T. Summers)

Signal brigade hosts self-defense course for sexual assault awareness

by: Spc. Gregory T. Summers, 1st Signal Brigade Public Affairs Office | .
U.S. Army | .
published: April 26, 2014

USAG YONGSAN, South Korea -- The 1st Signal Brigade Sexual Harassment/Assault Response Prevention (SHARP) team hosted a self-defense course at Yongsan's Trent Warrior Fitness Facility April 14-18.

As part of 1st Signal Brigade's ongoing support to April's Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the fun and educational week-long course was held to help teach Soldiers and civilians how to defend themselves should they ever become a victim of an assault.

Master Sgt. Erica D. Williams, 1st Signal Brigade SHARP Coordinator said, "I wanted Soldiers, family members and civilians to be able to obtain skills that could help them fight off any attacker whether they are friend or foe, because most of our sexual assault cases are not strangers, but turn out to be people we work with, associate with and trust."

The head instructor, Joe A. Garcia, a United States Naval Criminal Investigative Service Special Agent said that the classes developed basic self-defense maneuvers to help get victims out of bad situations. "We wanted to build some muscle memory with this course and we drilled a lot, because in an assault situation, you have to know how to do something to try and get away," Garcia said.

The self-defense course instructors combined mixed martial arts maneuvers with basic hand-to-hand combat techniques much like the Army's Combatives Program. Those in attendance gained confidence on how to take control of a situation and how to use their bodies effectively when escaping from an attack.

Garcia gave valuable information to the classes and put them in a variety of scenarios to help them be better prepared for any situation they might encounter. "We started with how to deal with someone engaging us from a standing position and worked our way to even lying on our backs and escaping with an assailant being on top of us," Garcia explained.

Brig. Gen. Chris R. Gentry, Eighth Army Deputy Commanding General, Col. Paul H. Fredenburgh III, 1st Signal Brigade Commander, Command Sgt. Maj. Darris Curry, 1st Signal Brigade Command Sergeant Major, and Command Sgt. Maj. Russell De Leon, 41st Signal Battalion Command Sergeant Major attended Friday's course to support SHARP, have fun with Soldiers and learn escape maneuvers.

"These things are important, because we always have to be aware and be ready to defend ourselves in any situation, sexual assault or not," Fredenburgh said. "This was a great class and it was valuable for anyone, male or female."

While the thrill and excitement of hand-to-hand combat maneuvers were the highlight of the courses, Garcia stressed that prevention is the most important thing to do when it comes to avoiding becoming an assault victim.

"The biggest thing I wanted everyone to take away from this training is that you have the power to not be a victim of sexual assault or an attack," explained Garcia. "Whether it's making sure you're not putting yourself in bad situations with alcohol for example, or not knowing how to defend yourself properly, we have the power to control whether we are a victim or not."

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