A dozen women gathered at Charm City Run in Frederick eager to learn a vital skill.

“It’s just something that needed to be done. With all the crime and everything that’s been going on, if you’re out by yourself you need to know how to protect yourself,” Self Defense Seminar participant, Brittany Richards explained.

Ron Zwolak and Diana Fornaris run Ron Z Training Services out of Baltimore and they traveled down to show this group of women the foundational moves for self-defense.

One of the most important moves of the class is the non-aggressive position.

“It’s just dropping back, dropping your right foot or left foot back into a stance, half-quarter stance, almost like boxing stance, hands up in front of you, protecting your face, guarding your space and saying ‘no,’ loudly and clearly,” explained Ron Z Training Instructor, Diana Fornaris.

Over the course of two hours, Zwolak and Fornaris also taught the participants a series of hand and leg strikes including a palm strike, and punt kick they say can be achieved even without great strength.

“We went through six different techniques: 3 for your upper body and three for your lower body. We refer to them as shock factor strikes. The method behind that is to use the strike to create a little bit of shock and awe to put space between you and your opponent so you can quickly escape,” explained Ron Z Training Services creator, Ron Zwolak.

Zwolak also talked through some non-physical best practices like keeping aware of your surroundings in public and avoiding running outside alone.

Participant Helaine Bernstein says she joined because she often finds herself alone while on a run, and without much knowledge on how to ward off an attacker.

“I run and so, of course, I’m always paranoid about just being safe. I think about where I run but they definitely had good tips. I knew that I’d learn some things,” said Bernstein.

Instructors stressed repetition with the moves to help seal in the motions and encourage empowerment.

“It makes you realize, ‘Well I’m strong,’ and even if I’m not as strong as an attacker, I’m strong enough that I can do this. I can defend myself,” Bernstein said.

Zwolak admits that he’s received an increased demand in self-defense services over the last year, many clients citing a fear of increased crime.