Series of self defense classes to be held at Joplin Family Y

Most people don’t think of Joplin as a dangerous city but attacks can happen any where, whether domestic violence or on the street. But residents can learn skills to protect themselves and even predict a threat at five self defense sessions beginning next Thursday.

On Thursday self defense instructor Bob Higgins showed three female volunteers at the Joplin Family Y how their palms can offer protection against an attacker.

“Most people don’t know how to take advantage of the body’s vulnerability’s,” says Higgins. “You can turn the tide against a physically superior opponent, it just takes the tools and understanding how the body works.”

A simple step sideways and putting their own hand to their neck as protection are simple moves the ladies realize can make a big difference.

“If you have your hands by your neck, it’s going to stop him from grabbing at your throat and if you have your right hand up it’s going to stop them from getting up in your face,” says Stacie Stirewalt.

“I could feel I had more of a center, you know, I didn’t feel so off balance, it was comfortable,” says Rustie Volden.

Higgins usually trains law enforcement but was asked to hold some classes here for the civilian population through the Alliance for Business, a cooperative effort between MSSU and Crowder College.

Higgins says whether officers or the general public, the best self defense is before things get physical.

“We’ve gottten into the pattern of disregarding our own intuition,” Higgins says. “So many times these situations are avoidable and if we could just have a little bit of training, a little bit of insight into the fact that are bodies are alarming us, the tools we use every day, to say something’s wrong.”

The self defense classes begin March 28 and run for five Thursday’s. There is a fee involved and registration is required.

For more information contact Michelle Nichols at Crowder College: or call 800-783-8053 / 417-451-2904.