“The best defense is avoidance. Know your surroundings at all times.” That was a theme repeated by Grandmaster John Pellegrini and Master Trina Pellegrini this weekend.

The Tehachapi Martial Arts Center hosted its 12th Annual Combat Hapkido Seminar, led by world-renowned self defense Grandmaster John Pellegrini, founder of International Combat Hapkido Federation, and world-renowned special guest Trina Pellegrini, founder of the “TRU” System of personal protection for women.

The two-day event started Friday afternoon with an anti-bullying workshop for kids taught by Master Instructor Derek Demus, and 3rd degree dan, Mark Oskay. The dozen or so boys and girls were taught walking away is best, but if it becomes physical in any way, use effective counter measures that will allow  the opportunity to flee. Avoidance and walking away should always be your first and best defense, the instructors said.

Saturday saw a morning class for women only taught by Master Trina Pellegrini, a special guest instructor who travels the world teaching basic self-defense for women.

“Women are often thought of as an easy target," she said. She emphasizes simple and effective methods of avoidance by teaching “situational awareness,” and then to always be in their cautionary or “yellow zone” mentally when out in public.

She showed simple but highly effective methods to get away from an attacker.

Master Trina Pellegrini's message to women was self-confidence and “self-awareness in the surroundings you are in.”

Avoidance is the best self-defense, but if physically attacked, the women were shown techniques such as the open hand thrust, foot stomp, heel grind and low knee kick to help them get away from an attacker.

Saturday afternoon saw the hours filed with a mixed gender class of upwards of 50 adult attendees taught by Grandmaster John Pellegrini, Master Trina Pellegrini, and local instructors Master Derek Demus, and 3rd degree, Mark Oskay.

The entire weekend's emphasis was first on avoidance, but if confronted, how to break away and escape the threat that’s happening to you.

The seminar is hosted each year by local Grandmaster Ivan Jadric, who along with his wife 2nd dan Maria Jadric founded TMAC more than 27 years ago.