2.3 min readPublished On: June 3, 2024

Genesis Health Club at Brownwood Hosts Free Self-Defense Workshop for the Community

At least 135 people filled the large studio in Genesis Health Club Brownwood on May 23 for a free self-defense workshop. Led by Steve Hossfeld, a retired SWAT commander, the seminar taught members and non-members alike a few essential techniques for staying safe.

Tammy Dunseath, group exercise manager at the club, opened the program with characteristic energy and enthusiasm, noting that the goal of this first-ever self-defense workshop was to help everyone gain confidence.

“At Genesis, we believe in living your best life now! Providing tools to be healthier, stronger, happier and more confident is an important goal to us,” Tammy says.

She introduced Steve, who has served in the Marine Corp and was knighted by the president of Haiti for his participation on a United Nations peace-building force in that country.

Steve’s presentation began with a focus on mindset. He pointed out that most people instinctively cower when attacked, referring to this reaction as a primal flinch. He then instructed the audience on how to perform a defensive flinch, a defensive tactic designed to counter this instinctive response.

“Not all tactical defenses work all the time, but it’s better than doing nothing,” Steve encourages.

Steve demonstrated three defensive tactics, allowing time in between for participants to practice in small groups. Each tactic came with verbal commands to shout while attempting to get away from an attacker. “In The Villages, there are lots of police, firemen and military. If you can call for help, you’ll probably get some,” Steve points out.

Steve also explained the benefits of situational awareness and that thinking through an escape gives you a better advantage than panicking. “When someone grabs you, relax and think of a move you can do,” Steve recommends. “Target the attacker’s thumb to release their grip.”

Participants were eager to show Steve what they learned as he circulated during the small group practice sessions. Judging by the attendance and level of participation, the workshop was a success.

“This is the first time we’ve done a free program for the community. People seem to like it, so we will probably do this again,” says Beth Ehinger, Genesis Health Club’s regional manager.

This self-defense workshop was the inaugural event of what will likely become free quarterly programing at Genesis in Brownwood intended to give back to the community. “It seemed like the perfect time to have members bring their friends, neighbors and spouses,” Tammy explains.

At the end of the workshop, participants were asking how they could learn more. In addition to future workshops on other topics to include the whole community, members may have an opportunity to take small-group lessons with Steve to continue their self-defense training.

For more information about the programs available at Genesis Health Club in Brownwood, click here.


About the Author: Christine Andola

Christine Andola
With a bachelor’s degree in communication from the State University of New York, College at New Paltz, in 1990 Christine embarked on a blind journey to building a career. She moved through teaching in the inner city public schools, reporting for a weekly newspaper, writing user manuals and technical documentation at a software company, lobbying and public relations at the state level for national associations and marketing for professional services firms. Christine’s writing portfolio includes everything from newspapers to grant proposals. She has developed web content, written blogs, ghost-written professional journal articles and drafted ad copy. From technical writing to lifestyle feature pieces, Christine lives by the value of words. She enjoys learning about the people around her and sharing information in a way that resonates with readers.

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