Now, more than ever, it’s important for women to be able to defend themselves. With that in mind, I recently took a self-defense and situational awareness class at OptionZero.

Curtis Chaplin, a coach and the program’s co-founder, said the classes teach physical and mental toughness.

“My goal was to give women something to be able take with them,” he said. “You can have mace, anything, but you have to be able to create a space to get to it. These classes also give women confidence; ‘I’m capable of doing this.’ ‘If I got in a situation where I had to handle myself, I know that I’m fit and in shape to be able to do so.’”

I’ve always wanted to take a self-defense class, but this was a first for me.

After a warm up and a series of stations that worked our arms, legs and core, I learned some basic boxing techniques – jabs, crosses, where to place my hands and feet. We worked in partners for the rest of the class, doing various drills to practice those techniques. It took me a bit to get the hang of it, but once I did, I really enjoyed the class. I left feeling much more prepared to defend myself (and much less stressed out).

OptionZero’s self-defense classes will resume in January.

Please note: Due to COVID-19, masks must be worn during class.


Where: 1415 W. Genesee St., Syracuse.
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Courtney Kless is the Editor in Chief of Family Times. Courtney is originally from Maryland. She earned her Master’s degree in Magazine, Newspaper and Online Journalism from Syracuse University. Courtney began her career as a sports journalist, then spent several years working in higher education, before joining the company in August 2019. She enjoys traveling, reading and hiking, and recently adopted a Labrador Retriever, Bailey.

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