The three-week class began with an informational session on Monday, Sept. 10, filled with practical tips to prevent dangerous situations.
When it comes to educating women about self-defense, Flagler County Sgt. Michael Lutz often thinks of his three daughters and his wife — how he wants them stay alert, be aware of their surroundings and be able to fight back if someone attacks them.
“Yelling and screaming is the No. 1 thing you can do to save your life,” Lutz reiterated several times over the two-hour informational introduction women’s self-defense class FCSO partnered with the city of Palm Coast for. “So why not do it?”
About 15 women sat in the Palm Coast Community Center on Monday, Sept. 10, to hear tips, statistics and helpful guidance from Lutz, who started teaching self-defense classes with the FCSO in 2007. For much of his 15 years with the department, he has focused his efforts on educating women that while they cannot control an attacker’s desire or ability to physically attack, they can control the attacker’s opportunity to do so.
“We’re going to give you some tools for your tool box to fight,” Lutz said. However, he added that “the goal in this class is not to stand and fight, but to run away.”
“Yelling and screaming is the No. 1 thing you can do to save your life. So why not do it?”
- Michael Lutz, FCSO Sgt.
While the first evening of the class was informational, the next two classes will teach women hands-on, effective ways to ward off an attacker.
Flagler School Board member Colleen Conklin listened to Lutz’s presentation with keen interest.
“I’ve wanted to take it for a couple of years now. I travel a lot and sometimes I’m alone,” Conklin said. “So, for my own personal safety, I wanted to take it after hearing some kind of scary stories of women traveling alone.”
Andrea Sweeney, with Flagler Schools food services, said she’s taking the class to relay the information to her 18-year-old daughter, as well as for her own safety.
“It’s the kind of thing you would hope you would never need or never need to us,” Conklin said. “But you currently want to be armed with the knowledge and the know-how just in case, God forbid, you were ever put in that situation.”
The two were inspired to participate after hearing how useful a teacher at Old Kings Elementary School found the class about a year ago.
Conklin said her biggest takeaways were: “Be more aware of your surroundings. Don’t be so distracted. Put the cell phone down. If it feels wrong, it probably is. Follow your instincts.”
While FCSO holds two fall sessions and two spring sessions yearly with the city of Palm Coast, Lutz said he’s hosted 10 classes total so far this year, some through other organizations.
He added that since 2007, about 2,100 women have gone through the course — learning information that could one day save their lives.