by Jose T. Garza III
A martial arts student of five years and a black belt in American Taekwondo, Jim Fiore is handing down his expertise to women attending his self defense and conditioning classes at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.
Fiore’s class features high intensity exercises, philosophy and martial arts combative training for self defense. The goal is to decrease the likelihood of being an attack victim, limit the assault and increase the possibility of survival, said Fiore, clinical research coordinator with the 59th Clinical Support Group.
“When you watch the news, it’s not men who are getting attacked, it’s the women that are attacked,” said Fiore, who teaches the classes Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Chaparral Fitness Center.
“In today’s world, the threats are more real and attackers are becoming bolder,” he said.
Fiore said having a small class allows him to know his students and assess their strengths, weaknesses and progress.
“They should be able to take this knowledge and retain it because we are always enforcing the basics,” he said.
The class is divided into three levels. Before students can advance to the next level, three requirements must be completed: specific training hours, comprehension and execution, and strength, power and stamina.
Threat assessment, striking biomechanics, striking combatives, striking movement and take-downs. It takes 24 class hours to complete and students receive a green stripe on their belt upon completion.
Implements knowledge from level one and introduces self defense techniques against grabs, chokes and holds, and learning submission tactics. The class length is 32 hours and students earn a blue stripe.
Learning self defense tactics from attacks by knife, gun, bat, pipe and rope. Also teaches how to counter sexual assault attacks. The class is 40 hours and students earn a red stripe.
For every 10 hours of training, students receive a black tip on their belt. Fiore schedules group or individual testing outside of normal class hours. Tests last a minimum of two hours.
“If you train easy, the fight will be hard,” Fiore said. “We want to train hard so the fight is easy. Our concept is to train hard for potential threats so students (can) throw punches to cause enough damage for them to get away.”
Class student Courtney Baker said the rigorous class requires focus to be successful.
“Training is not as easy as I thought it would be,” she said. “It takes a lot of drive and determination to get through the class.”
Being fearful of attack is what motivated Natalie Incrocci to enroll in the course.
“After a few months of training, I realized I didn’t have to be so afraid,” Incrocci said. “I can defend myself.”
Classmate Katherine Sosa agreed. She said students gain confidence in their protection skills with the tactics taught each week.
“I think we now have that confidence of ‘We can kick your (bottom) if we have to,” Sosa said about their attitude in class. “It’s like, ‘Really, you’re going to start something with me? I don’t think so.’”