Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. Hosts Self-Defense Training for Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Joseph P. Addabbo Jr.

May 6, 2024

Wella Eng of Ozone Park learns how to subdue an attacker.

Wella Eng of Ozone Park learns how to subdue an attacker.

Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. recently partnered with the Red Dawn Combat Club to host a defense training class in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The event aimed to teach constituents simple and practical self-defense techniques to protect themselves in the event of an attack. The training session took place on April 30th at Majestic Marquise in Ozone Park.

"We must empower and protect ourselves and our community,” Addabbo said. “Let's stand together, learn to defend ourselves, and say NO to sexual violence. Your safety and well-being matter. Let's take a stand against sexual assault – together, we can make a difference."

An average of 463,634 individuals aged 12 or older become victims of rape and sexual assault each year in the United States, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), the largest American nonprofit anti-sexual assault organization in the United States.

The event attracted women and men of all ages from various parts of the district. Participants had the option to watch the demonstration or participate and practice the moves. Most of them chose to participate in the demonstrations led by Michael Botier, the Director of Martial Arts at Red Dawn Combat Club, and his instructors. The training focused on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu techniques.

Botier showed different techniques including ones to break away from an attacker in a standing position and others if the assailant has knocked a person to the ground. 

Some of the examples used in the demonstration included:

Escape from Mount: Ways to escape from an attacker who is on top of you and regain control.

Guard Position: Using one’s legs and body effectively to defend against an attacker.

Armbar: Immobilizing an attacker by controlling their arm and applying pressure to their elbow joint.

Rear Naked Choke: Subduing an attacker from behind by applying pressure to their neck.

Hip Escape: Creating space to escape from an attacker on top and move to a safer position.

The Gift Wrap - Wrapping one of your opponent's arms across their face and securing it with your hand, essentially ‘gift wrapping’ them in a compromised position. 

The primary objective of utilizing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in self-defense is to neutralize threats and secure a safe escape, according to Botier. Learning these techniques can provide people with skills and confidence to escape dangerous situations. Botier showed that everyone can defend themselves no matter how old or young, how strong, or weak or how much you weigh. 

One of the participants, Wella Eng of Ozone Park, was concerned that after flipping over an instructor who was on top of her and getting on his back that he would be able to just stand up and throw her off. “I am so tiny,” she said. “How could I get away?” Botier responded by teaching her to use a choke hold to disable the attacker. By cutting off his air supply, he would just drop to the ground and perhaps even become unconscious.

Similarly, air chokes block the windpipe/airway to the lungs, which denies the opponent’s ability to breathe typically knocking them unconscious. Botier showed one type where a person puts their middle finger over their index finger and presses into the center of the attacker’s windpipe.

Another attendee, Daphney Paul of Woodhaven, said she had taken martial arts classes before and was seeking to brush up on her skills. She was fearless in practicing the moves with the instructors from Red Dawn. 

Botier told attendees after breaking free from an attacker they should run away if it is possible to do so, however, when an attack takes place in a confined space, he said to keep the perpetrator subdued, with a choke hold, for example, and then call the police. 

The NYPD Special Victims Department and Safe Horizon also took part in the event, providing resources and support services for survivors of criminal sexual assault, reinforcing the importance of access to assistance for those affected.

Videos from the event are available on Senator Addabbo’s YouTube Channel at the links below: