Self defense class open to all students

Megan Pavlik, staff writer

Teaching Defensive Pistol for 20 years and Permit to Carry for eight years, ex-Navy Seal Al Horner has also been teaching women to defend themselves for five years. On April 14, Mr. Horner, along with the Parent Association’s Community Wellness committee, held a self-defense class at Benilde-St. Margaret’s.

For the past two years Al Horner has taught the BSM senior girls, but the class was changed this year to a nonobligatory class that students had to sign up for. “We felt his message was one of value and importance; one which we wanted to bring to both young men and women by offering self-defense for both groups within the entire Senior High student body,” said Parent Association Board Member Deann Speltz.

Mr. Horner originally started the class for a friend’s daughter who was a senior in high school, and whose parents were worried about her safety at college. “I did it for a friend’s daughter. She was assaulted, and it worked for her. Another woman who was in that class, Carrie, was assaulted in the middle of the night with a machete, and it [also] worked for her,” said Mr. Al Horner.

Mr. Horner, as well as the Parent Association, felt that this message was a valuable one to share with the BSM community. “We can’t always control the environment in which we work and play; we want to empower our teens to be able to avoid dangerous situations and if not avoidable, how to protect themselves,” said Mrs. Speltz.

Mr. Horner uses a power point to present his material, but also uses a physical simulation where he demonstrates the skills that he had presented, without actually being attacked. “It taught me things that I did not know, and I feel more prepared in the case of an attack. It was a lot of heavy stuff that he packed into the class, and it was hard to absorb it all cause you were in such shock,” said junior Emily Boole.

Mr. Al Horner has written a book with the materials presented in the class, called “Not Me!” He also plans to come back next year if he is invited. “[I] go wherever the people that need help are,” said Mr. Horner.