Self-defense class provides safety

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A local taekwondo studio in Riverside helps community members stay safe and confident by teaching self-defense classes to female students with some of the classes taught by female instructors.

Kicks Tae Kwon Do studio in Riverside is owned and operated by martial arts instructor Jeff Mascolina who has been practicing martial arts for 31 years and is a six-degree black belt in taekwondo.

“I started in Shotokan karate when I was 6 and have trained in Jujitsu kick boxing and, of course, taekwondo,” Mascolina said. “Some of the other skills that are integrated with what we learn are Krav Maga system, which are take downs and wrist locks. General Jujitsu wrestling is also integrated in that too.”

Kicks Tae Kwon Do opened in 2000 and has been active in the community since.

One of the classes offered at the studio is a self-defense class. The self-defense class is co-ed  and taught by Master Instructor Sergio Lopez, who is a fifth-degree black belt. In this class, Lopez teaches students how to fight off a possible attacker.

Mascolina, also known as Master Jeff by his students, holds women-only self-defense classes on occasional Saturdays. In the women-only classes, Mascolina teaches scenario defense.

Michelle Scott is a student at Kicks and has attended some of the weekend self-defense classes. She said the class taught her the appropriate way to respond to a potential attacker.

“I always try to invite people I know because what they teach is life-saving stuff. I can’t express enough how important it is,” Scott said.

Mascolina has also taught self-defense to specific groups such as running clubs or real estate agents. For these classes, he addresses specific scenarios catered to each group. Mascolina teaches real-life scenarios.

Among the instructors at Kicks is California Baptist University student, Angelique Nevarez, sophomore pre-nursing major. A part of the Kicks family since January, but she is a fifth-degree black belt and has been a martial artist since she was a child. She is active in the self-defense classes and assists in the instruction.

“Every student should learn self-defense because life is unpredictable and it provides a sense of security and self-confidence,” Nevarez said.

Kicks Tae Kwon Do is located at 17100 Van Buren Blvd. and classes are offered multiple times a week.

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