With violent incidents on the rise nationwide, local self-defense instructors are seeing more residents interested in taking courses to learn to better protect themselves.

Master Chuck Crone, of Crone’s Tae Kwon Do in New Kingstown said he has seen a rise not only in child and young adult classes, but older adults wanting to learn basic self-defense.

“We have been growing pretty much across the board,” he said.

Crone, who teaches Tae Kwon Do as well fitness and self-defense classes, said in the last month he has seen a 40 to 50 percent rise in students, with 13 new people coming through the door.

“Five new students is an average month, so it is a big rise,” he said.

Suk Yee Smith, a fourth-degree black belt in Kenpo and instructor at The Dragon’s Way School of Kenpo in Carlisle, said she also has seen a considerable rise in those interested in learning self-defense. Smith reported a 50 percent rise, similar to Crone’s.

“Any time any good movie comes out, for instance with kids, with “The Karate Kid,” when that movie came out we saw an increase in kids coming into the school, between the ages of 7 and 12,” she said.

Both instructors reported seeing a rise in female students, but Crone said his student base consists of about 40 percent female to 60 percent male.

“More women are coming in now though,” he said.

Both Crone and Smith agree there are several reasons why the rise in students has come about, mainly the upward trend of violent crime in the United States.

“With the news, all the things going on out in society right at the moment that are making things seem a little less safe, people are wanting to come in to get a little bit more self-defense training,” Crone said. “Right now, the increase in new students, there was quite a few adults, more so than there has been in the past.

“In the past when there were things hitting the news, things going on, whatever happens in society, there is usually a response as far as people coming into the school from it.”

Smith said the main issue she is hearing is the fear of gun control. “With the fear of their rights being infringed upon, their guns being taken away they are afraid, so they want to learn self-defense,” she said.

Smith said news stories involving guns and abductions have inspired her to teach self-defense to different groups including Carlisle CARES and the Salvation Army, targeted to adults to teach situational awareness.

She said she teaches a street-based system of self-defense with blocks, hits, pushes, grabs, chokes, locks, gun defenses and knife defenses, among others.

Crone said many of his classes also provide the same lessons, and focus on building self-confidence and self-esteem, fitness, a good protective stance, eye-scanning patterns, to recognize threats and how to successfully defend yourself.

“Self-defense is actually a reaction, not a thought-out pattern,” he said. “If you have to think something out when someone is coming at you at a high speed, then you are going to fail.”

Crone, who has worked with police officers and members of the military for years, said that while many people are going out and purchasing firearms for protection, knowing how to act against attacks without those weapons is also important.

“Say a woman has a gun in her purse, and she looks like an easy victim, she is going to be attacked,” he said. “For her to be able to pull that gun out of the purse and do something with it, that stress level at that moment...they are going create a worse situation.”

Knowing how to handle weapons, as well as knowing how to defend without them is extremely important, he said.

“When someone buys a gun and they have to respond with a gun, they have to know how to handle it both mentally and physically,” he said. “Just going out and buying something, pepper spray, a gun, a knife, and not understanding how to use it is way more dangerous.”

Dragon’s Way will be offering a women’s self-defense class on March 15 at 6 p.m. For more information contact Smith at 218-5422 or www.carlislekarate.com.

For more information on self-defense classes in New Kingstown, contact Crone at 691-4116 or online at www.cronestaekwondo.com.

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