Shin’s, QueerSCV lead course in self defense

Instructor Nicole Vizcarra, left, demonstrates a ground technique in self defense with another instructor at Shin's Family Martial Arts Center. Ryan Mancini/The Signal

Visitors at Shin’s Family Martial Arts were taught several self defense techniques to keep themselves safe during a course led by instructor and QueerSCV vice president Nicole Vizcarra on Saturday.

“In a perfect world, women wouldn’t need to learn self defense because men wouldn’t perpetrate these crimes,” Vizcarra said. “But since the world is far from perfect knowing and understanding a few basic self defense techniques can mean the difference of making it home safe or not.”

A group of 20 women and QueerSCV members watched as Vizcarra and other Shin’s instructors demonstrated how to avoid hostile situations, as well as what they should do if an encounter with another individual becomes dangerous. This included standing techniques, such as palm strikes to the ears and nose, elbow and knee strikes, hammer punches and front kicks, and ground techniques like using a push kick and kimura sweeps.

The best boundaries that a women can set up for herself are verbal, physical and psychological, Vizcarra said. From there, it’s about knowing what a person feels their capable of and their confidence level.

“Confidence is everything,” Vizcarra said. “It’s helped me be a more confident person that I can defend myself. For example, whether it be public speaking in college or something else, I’m more confident speaking before people. I still get nervous, but I push through it.”

Linda Jimenez and her daughter Natalie were among the course’s attendants. Jimenez was invited by Vizcarra, her girlfriend, and she said the lessons felt practical from the standpoint of absorbing useful information to stay safe.

“Every person, female or male, should know how to defend themselves in that kind of situation,” Jimenez said.

For more information about clinics and upcoming self defense courses at Shin’s, visit  

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