SPRINGFIELD-BECKLEY AIR GUARD BASE, Ohio --
A member from the 178th Wing travelled to Vranje, Serbia to teach basic combative techniques and self-defense to women in the local area from March 2-9.
Staff Sgt. Brittney Robertson, a defender assigned to the 178th Security Forces Squadron, was one of three military members selected to teach the self-defense course. All three of the military members chosen are female military police in the Ohio National Guard.
The self-defense course was taught at a local boxing gym to women living in shelters who have been victims of domestic violence. The course was also opened up to female high school students.
“We had women ranging in ages from 14 all the way to women in their forties,” said Robertson.
Every day, the class would start with Robertson and her peers talking to the women and exchanging personal stories. After about an hour of talking, they would move into teaching the women the basic skills of self-defense. These skills included throwing a punch, situational awareness, grappling, jujitsu, and boxing.
“The main idea of the training was to teach the women how to stay away from situations where they can be harmed,” said Robertson. “If they do get into a situation like then that, then our goal was to teach them how to get out of it.”
Teaching the self-defense course not only gave the women a new skill set; it gave them confidence and a sense of empowerment.
“Many of the women came up to us and told us how much this class meant to them and how they feel confident in using the new skills once we leave,” said Robertson. “It gave them confidence and a sense of empowerment.”
In addition to teaching self-defense, Robertson and her peers spoke at three different American Corners in Serbia. They spoke to local community members about being a woman in the military, the importance of self-defense, and what life looks like for an American in the U.S. National Guard.
“The trip made a really big difference,” said Robertson. “It’s important because it builds a good relationship with Serbia. Being there and working together helps build a good relationship across nations.”