CRANBERRY TWP — A brother sister duo who live in the township want to give women the self-confidence to defend themselves.
Daniel Piocquidio and Lisa Johnson have been teaching their one-hour self-defense seminar “Fearless Female” since 2012.
On Feb. 2 they taught a group at the Cranberry Township Municipal Center, and they will have another seminar there in April.
Piocquidio, who is an engineer, has 22 years experience as a martial arts instructor while Johnson, who is a pharmaceutical sales representative, is trained in Rape Aggression Defense.
Johnson told the class that research indicates that one in five women in the United States will be sexually assaulted in their life.
Even in a seemingly safe place like Cranberry, anything can happen and women should be ready, she said.
“Most women just don't know what they would do if they were confronted,” she said.
Some of their advice to prevent assaults included paying attention to one's surroundings when in public, using your voice as a way to draw attention or scare an attacker and simply running away from trouble.
Piocquidio taught several techniques for breaking an attacker's hold to be able to flee.
The moves are based on kung fu and are meant to be useful for people who may be smaller and not as strong as an attacker, he said.
Piocquidio told the class about facing weapons: “If you see a knife, run for your life. If you see a gun, don't run.”
He also recommends carrying pepper spray which is like “a black belt in a can.”
Lynne Torchia and her 13-year-old daughter, Bri, of Wexford were among the participants Tuesday. Torchia said she signed up to give some self-defense tools to her daughter as she starts to spend more time out of the house. “I'm worried about her. I want her to be able to defend herself,” she said. Fearless Female will be offered again at 7 p.m. April 5 in the municipal center. Johnson said the class is only one hour so women with busy schedules can learn some self-defense without making a big commitment. Piocquidio and Johnson offer their training to any community groups or companies. Participants can be any women ages 13 and older. They also have written a book with self-defense tips. They say the seminar is a hobby that they don't profit from. Some of the proceeds from the classes go to benefit St. Jude's Research Hospital. For information, visit fearless-female.net.