Self-defense classes popular for all ages

Criminals and bullies beware.

People in Alabaster are learning to defend themselves, so you never know who is an easy target and who might just fight back.

Alabaster businesses like International Karate and Self Defense America of Alabama are equipping kids and adults alike with not only the skills to fight back, but also the knowledge of when to walk away.

David Reiter, owner and instructor of SDA of Alabama, said his business different than most martial arts institutions in that he teaches combat hapkido, taekwondo, kickboxing, Muay Thai, weapons training, disarming and military and police defensive tactics.

But while Reiter and his son, Luke, teach everything from self-defense to Muay Thai fighting, it’s their core values that they believe is the foundation of self-protection.

“It builds confidence and character,” Reiter said. “ It gives them the confidence to be able to walk away. We only use as much force as necessary and sometimes it’s just better to walk away.”

Reiter knows it’s better for some of his subjects to walk away from a threatening situation because the techniques he teaches could hurt someone.

But it’s being able to control those techniques, and yourself, that makes his lessons so valuable to those who need to learn protection.

“Martial arts isn’t just about fighting; it’s about self-control,” Reiter said. “You need to be able to control the situation.”

And Reiter knows a lot about controlling the situation after traveling the world and serving several tours in Iraq in his 22 years with the Navy.

Recently retired from the military, Reiter also shares his life-long passion with police forces and missionary groups traveling abroad.

Jay Fredrick, owner and instructor and International Karate in Alabaster, has also had a life-long passion for martial arts, and he too works his business with his son, Anthony.

Fredrick also bases his business off core values more than hand-on-hand combat.

“The basic thing is for self-esteem,” Fredrick said of the attributes of karate.

Like SDA of Alabama, International Karate also teaches self-defense classes.

Fredrick said he feels it is vital both men and women learn techniques to defend themselves if a life-threatening situation ever occurs.

“So many people have a false pretense that nothing can happen to them,” Fredrick said.

Both SDA of Alabama and International Karate offer multiple classes during the week.

For more information on SDA of Alabama, call 965-7812. For information on International Karate, call 620-2744.