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Mixed martial artist empowers women with self-defense seminar

GRAYSLAKE – With her daughter Kate’s departure for college looming in the near future, Grayslake resident Anna Bullman wanted to make sure she was as prepared as possible.

So when Bullman learned about Julie Bond’s 90-minute women’s self-defense seminar on Nov. 2 at Grayslake’s Prime Athletics, the mother-daughter duo promptly signed up for it as part of Kate’s college preparation.

A brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Bond is a student at Libertyville’s Black Tiger Mixed Martial Arts Academy. She wanted to create opportunities for more women to learn some of the more basic self-defense components of the martial art to empower them and help build their confidence.

Bond formerly held six-week self-defense seminars for women that allow them to learn and practice basic moves and techniques until these movements become more fluid and second nature to the participants. These shorter seminars, however, offer participants a crash course in simple moves that could potentially save their lives.

“I just feel it’s important that women can defend themselves at least a little bit,” Bond said. “We’re all women, we have to keep our eyes open for each other and make sure we don’t get hurt.”

Bond walked the women through various grip release and groundwork elements, including what she calls the “bump and roll.” This move is designed to allow women to leverage their lower body weight to help them escape a situation where an assailant has them pinned to the ground and is seated on their torso with one leg on each side of them. Practicing in pairs – and later with Bond’s fellow brown belt Imran Faizi – the women learned to “bump” an assailant – thrusting their hips upward with the full force of their lower body strength – to throw an attacker off balance, then “roll” themselves out from under the attacker.

Faizi and Bond also showed them additional moves to expand the “bump and roll” or alter it to fit various situations, including wedging a foot against an assailant’s hip and using that to create space between yourself and your attacker by pushing yourself away from him.

“If I’m bigger and stronger, I’m not going anywhere,” Faizi added. “But pushing will get you out.”

Bond and Faizi reminded participants that these moves are less about injuring the person attacking them and more about creating space and opportunity to remove themselves from the situation.

“Don’t admire your [handi]work,” Bond advised. “The No. 1 goal is to get away.”

Throughout the class, Bond encouraged her students to practice these moves; Faizi adding, “You need to practice to the point where you’re not thinking about it, it’s more of a reflex. Have a good handful of techniques that are good under pressure.”

Bullman and her daughter practiced with each other, other participants, Faizi and Bond and shared lots of laughs in the process, but at the end of the class, Bullman said she felt a lot better about Kate going off to college.

“It makes [my husband and me] both nervous with her going off to college, so at least having some introduction to just thinking about some of these things,” Bullman said. “I love that [Bond] threw out a bunch of scenarios and just talked about more generalizations … because like she said, in a dorm and when you’re meetings all kinds of new people, it’s a completely different situation than what you’ve ever been when you’re with your family all the time.”

Bond will host another seminar at Prime Athletics on Dec. 7. People can register via Black Tiger’s website (www.blacktigerfightclub.com). The cost is $40 per person, but participants can retake the seminar as many times as they like as long as they bring a first-time participant with them to subsequent workshops.

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