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Rise In Violence Prompts Action From Bergenfield Detective, Kung Fu Master

Shifu Raymond Ahles, left, and Bergenfield Detective David Tortora at Blue Dragon School of Martial Arts.
Shifu Raymond Ahles, left, and Bergenfield Detective David Tortora at Blue Dragon School of Martial Arts. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash

BERGENFIELD, N.J. — What do you get when you pair a Bergenfield police detective with a martial arts pro?

The most mindful, kick-ass self-defense seminar going.

Shifu Raymond Ahles and Bergenfield Police Detective David Tortora are offering “Women’s Self-Defense” April 8 at the Blue Dragon School of Martial Arts on South Washington Avenue .

“Self-defense is not about fighting,” said Ahles, head of the school.

“It’s not about physical techniques, although we’ll share some.”

It is about awareness and avoidance, he added.

The seminar was created because of a rise in violence and active shooter situations in schools, malls and restaurants.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has good advice for average citizens who suddenly find themselves in the midst of mayhem: run, hide, fight.

That’s all well and good. But how do you keep your wits about you?

Ahles and Tortora say it’s all about your state of mind.

Self-defense is not about beating up someone, according to Ahles.

“It’s about mastering yourself,” he said.

“It’s a process in which you’re able to handle yourself physically, if you had to, but you also have the tools to get out of a situation.”

The mind, he said, can be controlled through the breath.

With control of the mind comes the ability to keep thinking under pressure – and not freak out or freeze.

Distraction is a big factor in crime, according to Tortora.

Victims often are distracted by one person before being attacked by another.

“Instead of just looking at your phone all the time or wearing headphones, stay aware of what’s going on around you,” he said.

“Sense things. If the hair on the back of your neck stands up, take whoever is with you and go. Just leave.”

Advice will be given for a number of scenarios, including returning to your car in a parking lot and stopping for a light when driving.

Tortora will make seminar participants aware of relevant laws.

“In some places like Texas, they have the Castle Doctrine, which says you can shoot a person in the doorway if they enter your home,” he said.

Not so in New Jersey.

Here you don’t have the right to shoot somebody in your home if you can retreat, he said.

“Women’s Self-Defense” takes place 1-3 p.m. April 8.

The registration deadline is April 1 and the cost is $49 per person.

For tickets, call 201-385-3130 or CLICK HERE .

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