VAN WERT — The YWCA of Van Wert County will host a free Women’s Advanced Self-Defense Class from 6-8 p.m. on Jan. 10. There are no requirements to have attended a basic class prior to this advanced class. The class will be provided by the Van Wert Self Defense Team, which can be followed on Facebook by searching Van Wert Self Defense Team.

This class is designed to teach women how to avoid dangerous situations and what they should do when faced with unavoidable, unsafe circumstances. Class participants will gain confidence, knowledge, and the skills to protect themselves in this hands-on program. Topics covered will include situation avoidance and prevention, more advanced self-defense and improvised defense tools.

January is also Human Trafficking Awareness Month and statistics show Ohio as the 4th ranked state in the nation of these horrible crimes.

“It is unfortunately a local issue, with young women between the ages of 12-17 as the most likely targets for Human Trafficking Crimes,” YWCA Outreach Coordinator Julie Schaufelberger said. “The YWCA is fortunate to be able to partner with The Van Wert Self-Defense Team to help educate and perhaps decrease such incidences.”

Class instructors include Rick Busch and Ed Klausing. Busch is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do with nearly 30 years of experience, including more than 20 years teaching martial arts, self-defense and rape prevention classes and seminars.Klausing is a 3rd degree black belt and also has experience in teaching various martial arts.

Participants of this class should be women and girls ages 13 and older and should wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing.

“This class is very hands-on and beneficial for women of all ages,” YWCA Health and Wellness Coordinator J.J. McClain said. “I have been through both the basic and advanced classes a number of times and have learned something new each time. The classes have included women ages 70-plus down to 13 year old girls learning ways to defend themselves against attackers of all sizes – even flipping them over. Women sometimes don’t even know what their capable of and classes like these help teach what to be aware of, proper techniques and hopefully empowerment to know what can be done to protect themselves and loved ones.”

For more information, contact McClain by calling the YWCA at 419-238-6639 or emailing jmcclain@ywcavanwertcounty.org. Pre-registration for this class is strongly encouraged and may be done by one of the above contact methods.

The YWCA is a non-profit organization and a United Way and Van Wert County Foundation Agency.