Combat lessons help Seminole County students prepare for anything

A combat instructor in Seminole county is helping teach students how to overcome their fear if they’re ever encountered by an attacker.

John Fredrick has been teaching combat defense for almost 30 years but 12 years ago, he designed a different style of self-defense.

“This system is based on real violence," Frederick said. “None of it has a sport based, none of it can be used in a sports environment because we have no rules.”

Most people think it will never happen to them, Frederick said, so when it does they freeze.

That’s where the lessons start by addressing the mental aspect, which is something most people have trouble controlling under stressful situations.

“We have to overcome the psychological side of things because if you have a fear of being grabbed from behind, I have to overcome that with you so you can learn how to do the physical things to make that go away,” Frederick said.

To achieve a protective state of mind against violence, Frederick reviews real-life attacks from videos captured by surveillance cameras with his students.

“We watch what happens and then say, ‘OK, how do we defend against that?’ And then we come up with a method to do that," he said. “If you learn how to reverse engineer a real fight then you can protect yourself from that.”

Students also learn how to deal with possible threats that could happen at any time such as walking into or out of a store or walking to a car. Frederick prepares his students for how assailants will act in real life.

“We use very foul language in here because that’s what the bad guys use,” Frederick said. “We make this as real as possible because that is what you need to experience to understand what safety is."

For Tim Bush, whose 17-year-old daughter Georgia started taking lessons with Frederick more than a year ago, it’s given him a greater sense of relief since his daughter started driving.

"She was driving to the rink, she was driving here and there which puts her in a vulnerable state. I wanted to make sure she had skills to deal with that," Tim Bush said.

Georgia said the lessons have made her feel empowered.

“I’ve felt more confident, just going places or visiting friends or if I’m out late at night, I know that I have the skill set to defend myself if anything were ever to happen and being aware -- just being aware of my surroundings, looking people in the eye,” she said.

Her focus has improved since she began learning this combative technique which includes props such as airsoft guns.

“She no longer focuses on the person that’s attacking her, what they’re saying, what they’re doing. She’s focused on the weapons. The weapons might be the hands, the weapons might the gun, the knife,” Bush said.

“You start to realize that I’m not that special person where it’s just not gonna happen to me because we live in a world where there so many attacks and shootings so it’s just a valuable thing to know,” Georgia said.

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