Shou Shu, which translates to "fighting way of the beast," a full-on combat form of martial arts, was taught at the Presidio of Monterey Saturday, 29 March, by 10 black belt instructors, or Shi Gungs, who came from as far away as Lake Tahoe.
The Shi Gungs, led by Ray Kriegr from Moore's Martial Arts in Pacific Grove volunteered their Saturday to teach dozens of Service Members stationed at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center.
"I wanted to do something to empower people [Service Members] to be able to stand up against something," said Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie Schafer, the installation Sexual Assault Response Coordinator. Schafer, a black belt in her own right and one of the instructors that day, organized the opportunity to learn these self-defense tactics for anyone who signed up. She also organized two previous sessions in her former role as the 229th Military Intelligence Battalion Sexual Harassment/Assault Response Program representative.
According to instructor Brook Moes, Shou Shu "is a SHAULIN kung-fu based [style] but in the early 1900s it came to America, and the Chinese street gangs kind of adapted it for gang warfare."
In an era when you never know what may be lying around the corner, Kriegr shared his reasons for following a path in martial arts, "I truly believe that everybody has a right to defend themselves and should be able to do so to the best of their abilities. ... so if I can save one life it's worth it."
"You need to learn good fundamentals, and [have] a good foundation," said Kriegr, who demonstrated moves designed to teach the students how to engage and disengage from various types of confrontations. "Once you learn how to move, then you have to be able to just ... improvise, because every situation is different."
As the students practiced their new moves over and over, one could see the internal satisfaction and enjoyment they all felt as the instructors kept them thoroughly engaged throughout the two-hour session.
"The thing I really liked about the class is that you don't have to be big and strong to keep yourself safe," said Airman 1st Class Ashlee Ray, who might use her new moves to drag some of her buddies along to the next session.
In addition to feeling empowered, Ray shared her thoughts on the outcome of training, "this was just a great way to think about how to protect yourself, how to use your body if you don"t have that brute physical force, because a lot of us just don"t, especially me, I'm kind of small."
At the end of the session, Col. Laura Ryan, Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center Assistant Commandant, awarded her challenge coin to each of the 10 trainers for sharing their expertise and insight with the Service Members
When asked why he volunteered his time and energy for this training, Kriegr responded by saying, "this is my opportunity to be able to give back to some of the things that these people are doing for our country."
Story and Photo Credits
Story and photos by Sgt. 1st Class Rebecca Doucette
Photo 1: Service Members participated in a two-hour martial arts class, Saturday, 29 March at the Presidio of Monterey. The class was taught by 10 black-belt master instructors, or Shi Gungs, who volunteered their time and came from as far away as Lake Tahoe.
Photo 2: Ray Kriegr, from Moore's Martial Arts in Pacific Grove demonstrates Shau Shu self-defense techniques to Service Members from the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, Saturday, 29 March, 2013 at the Presidio of Monterey.
Photo 3: Col. Laura Ryan, Assistant Commandant for the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, gives a coin to a master martial arts instructor who volunteered his time to teach Service Members from the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, Saturday, 29 March, 2013.