- Associated Press - Monday, December 1, 2014

CONWAY, Ark. (AP) - Master Tom Mullaney of Grandmaster Han’s Martial Arts of Central Arkansas wants to make the community safer one woman at a time.

The martial arts dojang is hosting a series of monthly Women’s Empowerment and self-defense training seminars for free to women in the community to bring awareness to violence against women.

“We want to empower them to stand up, be aware and learn how to avoid being victims of criminal assault,” Mullaney told the Log Cabin Democrat (https://bit.ly/1th5anj ).

The abduction and death of Real Estate Agent Beverly Carter in September made Mullaney realize that he had a calling to share his knowledge and skills in martial arts with the women of his community.

“(Carter) could have been anyone I know,” he said. “I’m a member of this community, and if something happened to a lady of this community, I would feel awful if I hadn’t offered this opportunity to share what I know.”

With a wife and three daughters of his own, Mullaney not only wants to teach women physical ways to ward off an attacker, but he wants women to be able to understand the mentality of an attacker.

The first thing Mullaney does in a self-defense seminar is get the women in attendance to kneel, close their eyes and picture the worst night of their lives.

“Then, think what if someone grabs you,” Mullaney said. “We like to think we’d know what to do, but in reality most people don’t have a clue.”

Mullaney said you have to be willing to do anything - nothing is taboo.

There are two kinds of assault: stranger assault and known assault when a boyfriend, husband, cousin or friend attacks you.

Mullaney deals with stranger assault because he said it’s the one women should fear most.

An attack is carried out in four phases, Mullaney said. The attacker first picks his victim, sometimes it’s premeditated, and sometimes it’s a victim of opportunity, he said.

Then, isolates them, exhausts them and carries out the assault.

“We want people to understand these four phases,” he said.

Especially during the holiday shopping season, Mullaney said, people tend to lose focus on personal safety.

You’ll often see people walking out of a store on their cellphones, or they don’t pay attention to the cars they park beside, Mullaney said.

“There’s a big difference between a Volkswagen bug versus a side panel van,” he said.

The most important thing to focus on, Mullaney said, is how to prevent an attack, but if an attack does occur, the most important thing to do is increase the chance of a bystander seeing it.

“He’s already accepted the fight, so bite, kick, hit - but what he doesn’t expect is for you to fight so much that a bystander may see you,” he said.

Mullaney will also teach women some tactical maneuvers for getting away from an attacker such as when he pushes you, gets you to the ground or pushes you against a wall.

“These are things people who know martial arts should be able to give to others,” he said.

Mullaney is a master level mixed martial artists who has been teaching for 12 years. He focuses in tae kwon do and is also certified to teach self-defense to police officers.

Self-defense classes typically cost about $75 for two hours, Mullaney said, but he is offering this as a free seminar to give back to the community.

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Information from: Log Cabin Democrat, https://www.thecabin.net


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