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Dysart women take on self-defense class
July 26, 2018

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Inside the Union Middle School wrestling room, 18 women pair up and prepare to square off. This wasn't a sparring practice, but rather something more practical. Suddenly, one partner for each pair brings their elbow straight out in a defensive stance. They carefully charge at their partner, using their elbow much like a rhino uses its mighty horn to defend itself. By no coincidence, this technique is called "rhino" and is part of a self-defense class taught by Wesley Sebetka, who has been teaching women this and other techniques for 20+ years.

"My goal is to provide training to one person, teach them one technique that will save them one time," Sebetka said. "I realize I train a multitude of people, but if I can save one person, that's all that matters."

Over the course of two hours, Sebetka went over a variety of different assault scenarios and demonstrated how to overcome them either by himself or with a willing volunteer. Each student carefully followed instruction to avoid harming their partners and effectively move through the different techniques. Women of different ages were in attendance, including Union High School senior Jenna Steinlage, who took on the class to be defend herself in a world where these skills may come in use at a critical time.

I saw the post about this class on Facebook, and i thought it'd be a great thing to do," Steinlage said. "There has been a lot of bad things going on in the news, and it's honestly scary. During the class, our instructor told us that even if he helped just one person, one time, then all of it would be worth it."

Although unsure of what to expect from the class, Steinlage and everyone in the room quickly learned that the little things can make all the difference in an assault situation. The class learned how to create space between themselves and their assailant, where weak spots are located and how even a stronger man like Sebetka couldn't counteract these simple techniques.

"He is a pretty strong man, but even a young girl like me could take it and be just fine," Steinlage said. "T think this is because of the amazing teaching he did with us.

Sebetka built on several techniques, focusing on form and application to ensure his students would be able to memorize these techniques if ever they need them.

"The reason why I choose to teach these certain techniques is because they are very simple, taught in a short period of time and retained with minimal practice," Sebetka said. "I want everyone that comes into these classes to be aware of their surrounding, be aware of present danger and hopefully they open their eyes to the world of self defense. I want them to seek classes later on down the road from me or someone else as long they get that education."

Though no one wants to think they will ever find themselves in a situation requiring self-defense, Steinlage hopes she can convince her friends and family to also take similar classes and perhaps take even more herself one day.

"Overall, it was an amazing experience and i am so glad that i could attend the session," Steinlage said. "I look forward to seeing if there are more self-defense classes in the future because i want to make sure that i will be there, helping me prepare for if i am ever in a grave position."

The session was free to all attendees, a common courtesy for Sebetka, who is considering retirement soon.

"It rewarding and I like helping people," Sebetka said. "I've done it for a long time, don't charge. I do it as my way of giving back to the community."

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