At 46, Virginia Rangitsch says she's not that strong. Still, she can throw men almost twice her size to the ground.
As a child, she took an interest in martial arts, watching Bruce Lee movies and the "Kung Fu" series. Two and a half years ago, she decided to take up martial arts at Colorado Mountain College in Steamboat Springs.
Now, she takes Hapkido, a Korean self-defense art, from instructor J.D. Paul. Paul also teaches the self-defense art of Brazilian jujitsu.
Women now have the opportunity to learn more about these arts and how to apply them in a three-day self-defense seminar to be taught in Hayden. The two-hour seminar begins at 6 p.m. June 5 and 6 and 8 a.m. June 7 in the Hayden High School wrestling room. The cost is $36.
Rangitsch has registered for the seminar and, from experience at CMC, she said martial arts are a good learning opportunity for building confidence.
"It's not like you're walking down the street looking for fights," Rangitsch said. "But if you're ever in the parking lot by yourself, or walking down the street by yourself, it gives you more peace of mind. It's more about mental awareness."
Paul, who has a first-degree black belt in Hapkido, said 93 percent of all fights end up on the ground. Because Hapkido is mostly a standing style, he also will include lessons from Brazilian Jujitsu, which covers what to do if a fight ended up on the ground, in the self-defense seminar.
"We want to cover all the basics for the ways you would be attacked -- how to get out of a situation, using joint locks, take-downs, pressure points and chokes," Paul said. "If you don't know how to fight on the ground, it is a very strange place to be."
Paul also will instruct students of the seminar to use a kubaton, a small, 6-inch personal protection "stick," that can fit on a key chain. With the right technique, it can be used to bring an attacker to his or her knees.
As a demonstration to the Hayden Town Board for approval of the seminar, Paul used the kubaton on Recreation Coordinator Lindsay Heer. When she tried to grab the kubaton from Paul, he flicked his wrist, and she fell almost immediately to her knees.
The $36 fee includes a kubaton for all who register.
With practice, the energy transferred from the small kubaton can cause trauma by manipulations to wrist, by applying pressure to bone, Paul said.
"It requires no strength," Paul said. "But, it can be very, very effective."
Paul said his personal philosophy is to never hurt anyone. While teaching self-defense at CMC, several women have asked for him to have a class designed specifically for them, so he decided to go for it and hold it in his hometown, Hayden.