Sandy • Based on their creed of self-defense, not offense, West Wind Karate opened a home-invasion defense class to the community.
In business for 27 years, West Wind Karate has taught generations the art of self-defense and martial arts. Last year during a teacher's meeting, the studio developed the idea of teaching a class to the public that would give people the basic skills to defend themselves with household items in the case of home invasion. Classes were held at locations in Sandy, Kearns and Midvale.
"We want to teach in a way that, if they don't have the items we use [in class], they are able to find something that would produce the same results," said Sean Kaneshiro, head teacher at West Wind in Sandy.
Kaneshiro started taking karate classes at West Wind when he was 5. Now he is the head teacher at the Sandy location.
"This is a family-oriented business," said Lindsey Martinez, manager of the Sandy school and daughter of the founder, Tony Martinez.
The school is based on developing character, confidence, discipline and respect. Instructors teach the students not to attack, but how to defend themselves if they are attacked, she said.
"What is the first thing we should do if someone does break into our home?" Kaneshiro asked the class. "Run away."
As confident as students are in their ability, at West Wind they are taught that the first thing they should do is avoid the situation. Fighting should be their last resort, Kaneshiro said.
Using a towel, magazine and broom, Kaneshiro taught the class a series of strikes and movements that would give them basic skills they could use to defend themselves and cause enough to confusion to escape the situation.
Katie Nichols, from Bluffdale, has been taking her son Gage to karate classes at West Wind since November 2010. He is part of the school's black-belt club and attends all the extra classes the school offers.
"He loves karate," she said. "He comes to the extra classes to learn more and be involved.
"I'm learning, too," she said about the home-invasion class. "It's a good idea for everyone to learn, especially if someone breaks into their house."
Lisa and Luke Barrett of Sandy heard about the class from a friend. They decided to attend to support their friend, but they found the class useful.
"I always felt like I would be in panic mode if someone broke in," Lisa said. "Now that we know a little bit, we might not panic at all."
"It was very informative," Luke said. "I learned quite a bit."
The 25 class members learned different techniques to break someone's grip on their arm or neck. Also taught were ways to stun or confuse the attacker to buy a few additional seconds to escape.
"The only thing worse than a bad guy is a mad bad guy," Kaneshiro said. "I want you to surprise your attacker in a way that gets you the few extra seconds you need to get away."
West Wind Karate
In business for 27 years.
Taught self-defense to community members.
Used a magazine, towel and broom to teach self-defense.
Students of all ages in the class.