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The Scarlet & Black

Women’s self defense seminar


This weekend, Grinnell local Kirby Ziesmer is holding a free self-defense seminar for women. This event will teach techniques that help defend against assault, with an emphasis on defense against sexual assault. The seminar will be held Saturday, Sept. 30 at 10:30 a.m., at the Masonic Lodge, 928 Main St.

The self-defense moves that Ziesmer will be teaching are in the form of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a form of Jiu Jitsu that is purely groundwork.

“It’s all groundwork and ground technique and self-defense. That way it utilizes a smaller person’s attributes against a person much larger, stronger or athletic by putting forth as little effort as possible,” Ziesmer said.

Ziesmer first learned Jiu Jitsu during his time serving in the Marine Corps and has been practicing Jiu Jitsu for over 12 years. He currently teaches Jiu Jitsu in town, but wanted to take his work further and reach out to more residents of Grinnell and hold a self-defense seminar.

“I know these things,” Ziesmer said. “Why am I not sharing them with a vast majority of people in Grinnell?”

The techniques that will be taught can be used by anyone, but are tailored towards women. The seminar will begin with information about sexual assault: where it is most likely to happen and who is most likely to perpetrate the assault. Ziesmer will then teach and explain techniques and allow participants to practice each move on another person. He hopes to be able to teach eight different techniques at this first seminar.

Participants are encouraged to bring water or a sports drink, comfortable clothing and an additional person to help practice the techniques.

“My goal for the seminar is to give one woman one technique that may help her if she is ever physically assaulted or sexually attacked,” Zeismer said. “And whether that’s emotionally or physically, that’s all I really hope to achieve.”

If this seminar is successful, Ziesmer hopes to hold more seminars in the future. He wants to emphasize that one seminar is not promised to protect someone from assault, but knowing a few techniques can keep one safe in the instance of an assault.

“These techniques are proven to work, but nothing is guaranteed,” Ziesmer said. “I don’t want to give them false hope, but give them confidence that if they are in that situation they can relax … and think about getting away.”

Additionally, Ziesmer teaches a self-defense class for Grinnell students on Saturdays from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Bear Athletic Center. He hopes to expand these classes to meet three times a week so that he is able to teach students on a more regular basis.

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