It was a weekend of learning self-defense techniques for women and children.

On Friday afternoon, Tehachapi Martial Arts Center presented its annual Defense Against Bully workshop for kids ages 5-12. Martial Arts Master Derek Demus, with assistance from First dan Ruth Jorian and 3rd dan Mark Oskay, explained to boys and girls that there are various ways to handle a bullying situation that may start out verbal and become physical.

Walking away from a bully is always the best and safest thing to do, Demus said. But when that's not possible and a physical confrontation is starting with pushing, shoving, or even fists, the young people were shown simple but effective ways to counter the physical attack, allowing them the opportunity to flee.

Demus emphasized that “you are not there to stand and fight the bully, but to find a means and create the opportunity to flee the situation.”

Now in its 13th year in Tehachapi, the Women’s Self Awareness and Defense Seminar taught by Master Trina Pellegrini shows women important survival skills through common sense actions, and, if necessary, very basic physical defensive moves.

During a Saturday morning, women-only class, Pellegrini emphasized “avoidance” as the most important survival skill for women, followed by “the ability to escape and flee. Women ages 12 years of age and up attended the two-hour workshop.

Tips shared include: Know your surroundings and where you are in relation to threats that might be around you. Have a plan, and choose a direction of travel. Pause for a moment, keys already in your hand. Plan your route, and sweep it with your eyes before proceeding. Once at your vehicle, lock the door immediately.

There may come a time that despite all your best efforts, you're accosted by a surprise threat or physical restraint.

Pellegrini had her class practice simple, basic maneuvers to free themselves from an assailant, giving them that split-second opportunity to flee.

“The basic lesson is not to stay and fight with our assailant,” but to use the method of “escape” so that you can flee, Pellegrini said.

Grandmaster Jadric, and his wife, 2nd dan Maria, founded Tehachapi Martial Arts Center more than 28 years ago.