Hapkido instructor to teach art of defense

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A male hiker brutally attacked in a popular mountain park in Jefferson County on Saturday was another reminder that unexpected assaults can happen anywhere and at anytime.

JD Paul, a Hayden resident and first-degree black belt in the International Combat Hapkido Federation, will show residents what to do if they find themselves in the same situation.

Paul will teach a self-defense seminar from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday in the Hayden High School wrestling room.

"I think martial arts is really good for people to get involved in," said Paul, who teaches Hapkido, a Korean fighting style, at Colorado Mountain College.

Sponsored by the Hayden Recreation Department, this will be the second self-defense class Paul has taught in Hayden. The first class was for women, but this class is geared toward anyone 17 and older.

A main focus of the class will involve escaping certain holds or grips using simple techniques that use leverage to torque wrists and put pressure on joints, said Paul, who also plans to teach participants Jujitsu, a Hapkido ground fighting style.

"A very large portion of any fight or altercation ends up on the ground," he said.

In addition to physical techniques, Paul will spend a considerable amount of the class talking about the importance of being mentally focused on one's surroundings, an important aspect of self-defense.

Paul said he tries to emphasize the five-second rule to his students: If you're getting out of a car or going into a building, for example, take five seconds to look 360 degrees around you, noticing anyone in the area.

"The people who are oblivious to their surroundings are the ones who end up being a victim," he said.

Eventually, Paul would like to start a self-defense program for junior-high children in Hayden, he said.

Not only do martial arts classes teach defense techniques, they help instill discipline, confidence and respect in students, Paul said.

"There's a lot of problems with drugs going around. ... I think if kids had something that was fun and positive where they could learn some life skills, they would be really interested in it," he said.

Paul needs five participants to teach Saturday's class. The registration deadline is Thursday. For information or to register, call him at 276-7242.

-- To reach Tamera Manzanares, call 871-4204 or e-mail tmanzanares@steamboatpilot.com

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