Self-defense is a countermeasure to defend the health and well-being of oneself from harm and is a legal way to use force in times of danger. As of 2016 according to the Bureau of Justice, 5.7 million residents of U.S. aged 12 or older experienced a violent assault of some form and 1.3% of those residents experienced more than one assault. There are two forms of self-defense, armed and unarmed, so Her Voice thought it would be interesting to learn a bit from two local women with some knowledge in both areas of self-defense.

Bobbi Aune who sells Damsel in Defense items, which are self-defense items that are discreet and easy to carry. Brooke Jackson is a Parole Agent with the Department of Corrections who teaches self-defense classes at Empower Fitness.

For both women, self-defense has been a part of their past and is a part of their current professions. Bobbi Aune has worked in the correctional setting for over 20 years. She started out as an Army Soldier stationed at the United States Disciplinary Barracks so “it has been pretty much embedded in me!” Bobbi enjoys running and actually found Damsel in Defense when she was looking for something to take along with her while she is running. For Brooke Jackson, it was also embedded in her but in a slightly different way. Her family was in law enforcement and she grew up on a farm with all brothers.

She went to USD and participated in the US Boxing Association because it was a way to refine some of those skills she learned early on.

She went on to some internships with United States Secret Service, a contracted case worker for Indian Health Coalition, and ATF. From there, Brooke went on to work for Springfield Penitentiary. During her time there she worked her way up to Senior Officer, then became the first female Defense Tactics Instructor for South Dakota. She trained 25-35 officers every 6 months around South Dakota and then went on to teach women and non-security personnel. From there she went on to become a Training Specialist for the entire state and then worked as an Armed Field Agent with parole for the DOC. For both of them, their past experiences made them want to empower others by sharing their knowledge of self-defense. Bobbi found Damsel in Defense and is a Damsel Safety Trainer and for the past year and a half, Brooke has been teaching selfdefense classes through Empower Fitness.

Bobbi is not a certified self-defense instructor but she is able to teach everyone how to use the products she sells. “My goal by the end of the day is to make sure everyone walks out of there feeling equipped, empowered, and educated.”

But the best product varies depending on the person. “It’s a matter of their comfort level.”

For Brooke, she feels it’s “important that women educate themselves.” Her classes are for anyone, regardless of ability or age. “I’ve had 8 year olds to 80 year olds who have taken my class.” Learning self-defense, Brooke says, is about technique and mindset and that it’s definitely more mental than physical. “Women can empower each other.”

Both Bobbi and Brooke suggest finding the right class that fits you. “If you feel comfortable and confident in a class, you will feel confident and empowered outside of class,” Bobbi says.

Brooke definitely thinks that you have to feel confident and find that in the class as well.

“Do things that are empowering for yourself.

Doubt will get you hurt.” If you’re interested in learning self-defense, find the best option that works best for you and here are some parting tips to remember.

1. Trust your instincts

2. Don’t make yourself an accessible target

3. Present yourself with confidence

4. Set strong verbal boundaries

5. Maintain a non-confrontational stance

6. Keep a safe distance

7. Use the element of surprise

8. Keep your techniques simple

9. Don’t panic if you’re knocked down

10. Follow through