LONG BEACH - With large pads affixed to his forearms, the man approached the woman in a way that was obvious what was on his mind. But as he began reaching for her she moved quickly, her mind already made up as to what she wanted to do. She reached forward as he grabbed her around the neck. Using his nose as a guide she slid her thumbs into his eyes before wrapping her hands around the back of his neck, giving her leverage as she kneed him repeatedly. All too real? Fortunately, in this case, it was all for show.

When not getting kneed in the groin, poked in the eyes or being held in a strangle hold, Pacific County Jail Superintendent Stephen Sultemeier was passing on vital instruction and ideas on how to best protect yourself from predators, Wednesday night at Long Beach School.

"Be aware of your surroundings," Sultemeier instructed, noting that as possibly the most important thing.

The self-defense course, sponsored by the Crisis Support Network (CSN), is a way to get out vital information about staying safe. One of the most important aspects, according to Sultemeier, is that the best defense can be a good offense. Being ready so that if an attacker does strike, you can catch them off guard by attacking them in a practiced and orgainzed way as a means of escape. Sultemeier said his motivations in teaching the class is, "If I can teach anything that might help somebody, save somebody's life, keep them from being assaulted."

Sultemeier suggested practicing the techniques he taught upward of 3,000 to 5,000 times so that it is a reflex and not something that you have to think about.

Kris Camencind, director of CSN, said that doing something to help self-empower people was her goal with the class, from which she said she learned a lot.

"[I learned] to be more vigilant about my surroundings and who I'm around," she said.

For more info about CSN, call 642-0095.

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