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Wheeling YWCA Sponsoring Free Self-Defense Course March 12

File Photo - The Wheeling YWCA’s headquarters are pictured in downtown Wheeling. The organization offers an online support program to remind family and friends of those struggling with addiction that they must care for themselves in order to help their loved one.

WHEELING – The YWCA of Wheeling is slated to host a free self-defense class March 12.

Dubbed a Self-Defense Empowerment Workshop, the class is being made possible by the Upper Ohio Valley Sexual Assault Help Center.

It will be held from 2-4 p.m. March 12 the Wheeling YWCA, 1100 Chapline St., Wheeling.

The workshop will be taught by Benwood resident Celsie Roxby, a certified self-defense instructor. Since class space is limited, people are being asked to RSVP by calling 304-234-1873 or email ashley@SexualAssaultHelpCenter.com.

“This free workshop is open to anyone of any age – women, mothers, daughters and sons – all are welcome,” according to YWCA information.

People are asked to wear comfortable clothing so they can move freely during the workshop. The class is free but donations are being accepted.

Roxby said Friday the workshop focuses on education and prevention along with self defense as well. Roxby said as a child she was a victim of abuse.

“Our course teaches women that the most important prevention tactic is awareness … and readiness. We provide education on the topic of healthy boundaries, which is often an issue when children are taught unhealthy boundaries,” she said.

“Girls particularly are susceptible to societal and cultural factors and pressures that teach them to be passive, to please others, too often at a dear cost to themselves.”

Roxby said children and women are often taught not to be aggressive, but instead be passive. She believes the assertive setting of boundaries can help prevent people from being abused.

“They (abusers) look for a weak victim. Someone that won’t talk, someone who won’t speak up. Overcoming those psychological barriers is even more important than the physical response of tactics that we teach,” she said.

The second part of the workshop deals with reacting to an abuser or attacker.

“What do we do when someone is overstepping boundaries verbally or physically? I am a second-degree black belt. I’ve trained for 12 years. I’m approximately 135 pounds and 5-foot-7. I’ve been through four different defense courses,” Roxby said.

“I’ve been trained in over seven different martial arts. Despite that extensive background, there are many circumstances in which someone larger and heavier than you is able to take advantage.

“I went through a variety of techniques. I tested them against large men that were 130 pounds heavier than me and taller. I discarded any tactic that did not work in that situation.

“I’ve settled on a handful of techniques that I’m extremely satisfied with saying I’m comfortable teaching to someone young or someone older, comfortable in knowing that they can respond effectively if need be to defend themselves.”

Roxby said she is planning more workshops geared toward professional situations, along with a separate seminar for schools.

“Helping young men and women become comfortable with the idea of defending themselves and knowing when and how to do that – verbally and physically – is the best thing that we can do to assist in fighting against the epidemic of molestation and abuse that has been hidden and unaddressed for far too long,” she said.

Meanwhile, the YWCA also is gearing up to host its annual Awareness Walk & Run on March 6. The event begins at 1 p.m. at Oglebay Park’s Susan Wheeler Walking Trail that begins at Schenk Lake.

The run/walk is an honor of No More Week. It is being dubbed “a day to say no more to domestic violence and sexual violence and to advocate for survivors.”

It is free to participate, but donations are welcomed. Those who participate will be entered into a raffle for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card. To RSVP, email development@YWCAWheeling.org.

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