Every Wednesday night, Forward Movement Training (FMT) hosts a ladies night basic pistol training to educate people–specifically women–on how to properly use a handgun. Jason Laase, general manager at Forward Movement Training, said that FMT is a reality-based training organization that teaches people how to protect themselves and how to protect others.
“A lot of people don’t know the laws surrounding use of force, whether it’s hitting or shooting them. And that’s a very important part of self-defense,” Laase said.
Laase stressed that what is more important than self-defense is the laws behind it.
During this three-hour class, Laase and his crew teach some main safety rules they say are critical when using a hand gun. A few of the rules are how the gun works, why it does what it does and how to hit what you’re aiming at.
“We teach people to be aware of their surroundings, so if they see something kind of funky, they go the other way. Or they call the police or do something instead of putting themselves in that position where they might have to use any kind of force,” Laase said.
The intro to basic pistol class is for people who want to know how to use a firearm. This class is designed for women, although the male-female attendance in the class is fifty-fifty. One thing they stress is how to safely use a firearm for self-protection or target practice.
Both Laase and Kim Camacho, violence prevention and support coordinator at the Gender Equity Center, said defending yourself isn’t the main priority–safety is. Laase said the main thing they teach in the class is avoidance. This means avoiding any kind of physical altercation, which would include a physical fight or a gun fight.
“Real life is not so clean cut. We put people through different scenarios so that they will learn the right way to do things,” Laase said.
Camacho wrote in an email that self-defense is a helpful tool, although there may be some challenges.
“Experiences of violence are a form of trauma, and while everyone responds differently, some common responses can include fight, flight or freeze,” Camacho wrote.
Camacho wrote that taking one or a handful of classes can lead to a false sense of confidence. Your brain will still respond in fight-or-flight mode.
“It takes people years to master self-defense techniques and even still, their bodies may override their ability to act if they are in freeze state, in which they are physically unable to move,” Laase wrote.
Camacho also wrote that risk reduction strategies such as self-defense are one piece of the puzzle needed to end violence. Two strategies that will end violence are prevention and accountability, according to Camacho.