SCV women gather to learn self-defense

The class looks on as Jordan Formia, 16, left, and Bonnie Formia of Prestige Self-Defense demonstrate a punch with the heel of the hand during the Women's Safety & Self-Defense Workshop held at The Centre in Santa Clarita on Saturday. Dan Watson/The Signal

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and in honor of it, state Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, hosted a free Women’s Safety and Self-Defense Workshop at The Centre on Saturday.

“Wilk is very concerned about harassment and violence,” said Kris Hough, Santa Clarita district representative for Wilk. “So many people don’t know what to do and women typically just cower, so it’s very valuable. Being able to protect yourself can save your life or help you get away.”

Wilk tries to do at least two of these workshops per year, according to Hough. They are open to women and girls over the age of 14, and focus on simple self-defense techniques.

“These are simple tools we teach so that women can fight off an attacker,” said Bonnie Formia, instructor of the workshop.

Bonnie Formia of Prestige Self-Defense, right, looks on as Brandi Phillips, left, and Michelle Lesie practice a punching drill during the Women’s Safety & Self-Defense Workshop held at The Centre in Santa Clarita on Saturday. Dan Watson/The Signal

Formia is the owner of Prestige Self-Defense and has been teaching these workshops for two years now.

“It’s very simple — the bottom line is attack your attacker,” Formia said. “Attackers want an easy target. So if you make yourself not so easy, 99 percent of the time they’ll think that it isn’t worth it.”

Formia taught the women basic krav maga techniques like how and where to hit an attacker as well as how to prevent an attack and to be aware of your surroundings.

“There are two reasons you wouldn’t be attacked,” Formia said. “Either there’s a fear of getting hurt or a fear of getting caught.”

Women practiced punching and groin kicking pads with their partners and were told to “hit it with everything” they’ve got.

“Women are always afraid that they’ll get in trouble for defending themselves,” Formia said. “They need to be told that’s not true, and then they’ll be more willing to say, ‘Okay, I can stand up for myself.’”

The next Women’s Safety and Self-Defense Workshop is scheduled for September, according to Hough. For more information on this or other future events, email [email protected] or call the senator’s district office at 661-286-1471.

Liz Bush of Saugus practices a combination punch with the heel of the hand during the Women’s Safety & Self-Defense Workshop held at The Centre in Santa Clarita on Saturday. Dan Watson/The Signal

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Emily Alvarenga

Emily Alvarenga

Emily Alvarenga covers features and community for The Signal. She's new to the paper and Santa Clarita, but hasn't moved far from her hometown of Temecula, California. Emily graduated from San Diego State University in 2017 and has been writing and reporting since high school.