Defensive tactics was taught to a group of Petersburg High School students by instructor Marcus Hom. Ten PHS graduating seniors were taught about situational awareness, pre-assault indicators and using verbal commands to de-escalate a situation.

“As far as the class goes, we talked quite a bit about the different levels of escalation and situational awareness being the first things to understand and about not going stupid places, and doing stupid things with stupid people,” Hom said. Hom has extensive martial arts training and learned to become an defensive tactics instructor for law enforcement at the Federal Law Enforcement Center in Georgia. Hom said physical defensive tactics are a last resort and the ability to get out of a fight is the most important skill.

“We talked about if somebody has a weapon and they want your phone, wallet or car keys, hand it over,” Hom stated. “But if they want you, you’re going to have to fight like crazy.” Hom taught the students about various pressure points and what to do if they’ve been knocked off their feet. The students also went outside where Hom put them in real life scenarios such as being approached while getting into a car or walking down the sidewalk. He wanted the kids to start gauging their comfort levels in potential unsafe scenarios.

“If your instincts are telling you this is not safe, turn around and go the other direction,” Hom said. “The last line of defense is physical defense but there’s all these other lines first.”

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