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Social workers learn Krav Maga to stay safe in what can be a violent job

Posted at 4:39 PM, Jul 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-23 16:39:27-04

Martial arts expert Shannon Hiromasa says most people have never been in a fight.

And those that have usually haven’t been in a choke-your-neck, kick-you-in-the-groin, try-to-gouge-your-eyes-out kind of fight.

“I’m aiming with the bottom of fist like I’m stabbing someone with an ice pick,” Hiromasa said while training a group.

A brutal analogy, but if attacked that’s the mindset she says someone needs to get to stay alive.

Shannon Hiromasa and her husband James Hiromasa own and operate Colorado Krav Maga. Krav Maga is a self-defense system originally designed for Isreali special forces.

“We’re teaching them how to get out of chokes, how to get out of grabs, holds, pulls,” James said. “Someone grabbing their hair or grabbing their back, trying to take them away.”

On the mat during a recent training session was about a dozen child welfare case workers, all of whom are women.

Welfare worker Elizabeth Conner has never been in a fight and she wants to keep it that way.

“A lot of times you have to go into situations that are high conflict and are crisis,” she said. “And you have to be the one to maintain the calm and have people match that calm.”

Conner says social workers can be in high-stress situations involving families and violence, with many social workers becoming victims of violence themselves.

“Especially when you’re alone after hours in the dark, maybe without any coworkers or police, you at least know how to keep yourself safe,” she said.

Social work can be dangerous and even deadly. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2013, 11,000 social workers were injured as a result of workplace violence.

So this Krav Maga training may save these women’s lives.

Hiromasa, however, says the best fight is a fight that doesn’t happen.