In a world that is seeing an increase of violence, it has almost become necessary for women to learn how to protect themselves from potential attackers. Elyse Thibodeaux, owner and an instructor at Tiger Rock Martial Arts of Bridge City, is seeing that women in Orange County are offered such training.

On Jan. 22 from 2 to 4 p.m., Thibodeaux will be offering a free personal protection seminar to women ages 13 and up (ages 13 to 17 are to be accompanied by an adult). Those interested in attending this seminar are asked to call 409-920-1462 to RSVP. Casual clothing and gym shoes are recommended, however those who would like to go barefoot may do so.

“We will be covering everything from how not to look like a victim all the way through techniques that will work in the real world,” she said. “This takes minimal practice to get good at and will work.“

These techniques will be easy enough to perform for those who are not experienced martial artists.

“What I’m going to teach them in the two hour seminar are things that can be learned and practiced at home in a short period of time,” she said. “A lot of it is just not looking like a victim, being aware of your surroundings, and knowing your voice can keep somebody away.”

Thibodeaux explained that women can look like a victim if she is walking with her down, not paying attention. She recommends that women keep their eyes moving all the time, and to be aware of their surroundings.

“A victim is somebody that looks vulnerable, an easy target,” she said. “If you have headphones on with an iPod while you’re walking down the street, you’ve taken away one aspect of being able to know something’s going on and made yourself more vulnerable.

“It’s about looking like you’re prepared, looking confident, and being aware of everything going on around you,” Thibodeaux said.

While this may be the first seminar Thibodeaux will teach in Bridge City, she has assisted in many seminars at the Beaumont Taekwondo Academy.

She heard about the Beaumont academy while she was working for the Examiner as the business manager. The advertising article writer left and she was asked to step in. Her first article was about the Beaumont Academy.

“My son had been bugging me for six months to do it,” she said. “I signed him up and I sat there and watched him for a week. I thought ‘gosh, this looks like fun, I wonder if they have an adult class.’ So, I got signed up.”

She first started learning taekwondo six years ago and has been an instructor for three years.
She explained that taekwondo is a great way to stay physically fit. “It’s fun, it’s confidence building,” she said. “I’ve learned a lot of things that make me feel more confident, especially as a small woman.”

She soon realized her love for this program and wanted to become an instructor herself.
“When I got black belt, I hit the instructor program, I got all the hours of assisting and teaching that I need to become a level four instructor, which is an international instructor,” she said. “I can go to any Tiger Rock Academy across the country or around the world and teach in them.”

Before opening the Tiger Rock in Bridge City in Aug. 2010, she worked for the Beaumont Taekwondo Academy in Orange and Vidor.

“That’s where I got my experience from and we were constantly getting requests to have seminars,” she said. “We made it a ritual that around the New Year is when we would do one.”
Business in Bridge City is good for Thibodeaux. She has approximately 52 students.

“We push people at their own level,” she said. “Everybody’s fitness level is different. It’s a work at your own pace; learn at your own pace kind of atmosphere. It’s a great workout. If my class doesn’t leave sweating, then I’m not happy. You’ve got walk out that personal victory and sometimes that personal victory is knowing that you’ve off the couch and came to class.”

There are three different age groups she teaches:

Tiger Cubs (three to five years old) are taught “Stranger Danger,” basic punching and kicking, left/right coordination, how to listen and focus.

Juniors (six through 12 years old) are taught more Taekwondo; more kicking, punching and blocking, left/right coordination; using your mind; life skills, and self defense and escape skills.

Adults (13 and over) are taught more advanced skills.

“We teach a lot of self defense,” she said.

For more information on Tiger Rock Martial Arts of Bridge City, call 409-920-1462, or visit Tiger Rock is located at 1145 Texas Ave B in Bridge City.

About Nicole Gibbs

Editor of The Record Newspapers