Reservations are now open for a free self-defense class to be held Saturday, Oct. 6 from 9 a.m. until noon, at the Christian Karate Academy, located at 136 W. Oak St. in Independence. Sponsored by the Independence Police Department, the goal of the class is for participants to walk away with the confidence to apply skills to escape or use force enough to stop an attack. Independence police officer Charlie Benedict is the class instructor, with assistance from Neodesha police officer Brad Waggoner. 

Instruction begins with applied strike techniques to put distance between yourself and the threat. Participants will also learn tactical response to dominant grabs and how to recover from a submissive position on the ground. 

The class is open to all ages, genders and abilities. Officer Benedict assures that options are available for those who have restricted movement or physical limitations. Past participants have included a four-year old child and a woman in her late 70s, whose mobility was dependent upon her wheelchair. Now in its sixth year, the class grew from discussions between the former owner of the Christian Karate Academy and then Chief of Police Harry Smith about personal safety techniques adapted from several martial arts styles. Officer Benedict has been class instructor since its beginning. Benedict holds a brown belt in Tang  Soo Do, a Korean style of karate, and is certified in Gracie, a Brazilian style of Jiu-Jitsu originated in Japan. He is also a boxer and has won a championship belt in a tournament sanctioned by USA Boxing. 

Class size is limited to 20 attendees per session, with reservations guaranteed in the order received by phone. Attendees are encouraged to bring bottled water and wear comfortable clothing. To join the Oct. 6 class, call 620-332-1700 and ask to speak to Officer Benedict.