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Women taking care of themselves

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Self defense course teaching women how to be prepared for a worst-case scenario

By Kaitlin Keane

It was six women against two men Tuesday at Keko’s Academy of Martial Arts, but this wasn’t your average gang up.

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It was a women’s tactical defense and rape prevention course instructed by Kyoshi Peter Keko and Roane County Sheriff’s Deputy Mitch Grigsby.

During the course, women 13-years-old and above will learn posturing and body language, psychological and evasive tactics and defense from attempted rape.

“We work with easy to apply techniques,” Keko said, “that women can do when up against a man that is bigger and stronger.”

This is Keko’s second time hosting the course. He feels the class has improved and been successful.

Nikki Conley and Tammy Lowe, coworkers at Hair and Body Image Salon  in Kingston, took the class together.

Conley feels more comfortable just being outside by herself after taking the course.

Lowe recalls an evening working late when an intoxicated man came in using vulgar language and making her and the customers feel comfortable.

“It was a scary moment and I didn’t know what to do,” Lowe said.

Luckily Lowe’s brother happened to stop by the shop and the incident didn’t escalate.

“It just happened one night when I forgot to lock the door,” Lowe said.

Keko says a lot of people feel it will never happen to them but it just takes that one time to become a statistic.

Ramona Carpenter feels the class has been helpful for her. Last year she was followed in her car while driving with her children.

“That just kind of freaked me out,” Carpenter said. “We learn simple stuff that I would have never thought of.”

Another course will be offered in the fall. Keko encourages any age and even any gender to learn some form of self defense.

“We feel it’s important that we provide this to the community to help them (women) feel safer,”  Keko said.