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Local kids learn to protect selves with Jiu-Jitsu moves

Tomlinson Middle School students Ashlynn Lewis and Natalie Lambert were among 40 children and adults from the Lawton Fort Sill community who learned how to better protect themselves on Friday during a free self-defense class, presented by Dreadnought Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and the City of Lawton.

The first class began at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 12, and the classes continue every Friday through Feb. 16 in the gym at the Patterson Center, No. 4 NE Arlington.

Virgil Allen and Benjamin Nepveux, co-owners of Dreadnought Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, teach the classes, which are open to anyone age 4 and up.

Allen opened his business in Lawton three years ago, but he has been doing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu since 2000, the year he underwent the Modern Army Combatives program while he was in the military.

To Allen, who recently retired from the Army, the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is an outlet for his PTSD and stress, as well as a way for him to raise awareness of the importance of self-defense in relation to bullying and sexual assault.

Allen said Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu provides a way for people who are relatively smaller, weaker and not as athletic as their bullies to fight back.

During Allen's regular classes at his school, he teaches 26 basic techniques. But for the classes at the Patterson Center, he has narrowed his focus in order to fit the curriculum into the short time frame.

The Lawton Constitution

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