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Packing a punch: Women hold self defense class for International Women's Day

Packing a punch: Women hold self defense class for International Women's Day

SCRANTON (WOLF) -- It's something you don't see often: women enthusiastically lining up for a punching bag.

"We feel it's very important, it's a good skill to kind of have in your back pocket, and it really brought the group of us together," said Lindsay Bezick, Vice President for the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce

But they're here for a purpose, and that is education.

"I think it's so important that we can learn that skill so we feel confidant when we're walking around at night. I think confidence is key," said Caroline Jones, a student at King's College.

Celebrating International Women's Day now has a kick, with several women in Luzerne County empowering themselves with a number of self defense tactics at Valley Goju Karate.

"It was something that I felt compelled to do because I thought it was an important service to provide to the community," said Sean O'Leary, Chief Instructor at Valley Goju Karate in Kingston.

O'Leary is teaching these women, when faced by an attacker, to show no mercy.

"If he's trying to hurt you, rob you, rape you, he doesn't care about your feelings. Get ruthless, get fierce," he told the class.

And on the heels of the #MeToo movement and what's being called the "year of the woman", these ladies are doing just that.

"Women are more at risk of being severely injured, seriously injured, if they do the wrong thing. So I think if they know to just get out of there, use their awareness, use their mindfulness when they're in an environment," said O'Leary.

He said that he provides both men and women the same instruction for self defense, but has noticed a cultural shift in the last year.

"There's a great deal of awareness for women in this day in age, especially today for there to be a great deal more of respect, and for there to be some more acknowledgement and work for the work that women put into the world. And I think that's important, too," said O'Leary.

"It's important to celebrate women's accomplishments and achievements, not just International Women's Day but every day," said Jones.

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