Students in the Personal Protection Concepts American Ninjutsu class learn different martial arts to help defend themselves if attacked.

By Mason W. Canales

Killeen Daily Herald

Area self-defense classes offer a chance for residents to not only learn how to protect themselves, but also avoid dangerous situations and help others.

"It is all focused on personal protection for adults and kids," said Steve Miles, Killeen Parks and Recreation American Ninjutsu instructor, about his classes.

Grand-master James McMurry, Harker Heights Parks and Recreation Hapkido instructor, echoed Miles' words and added that his class not only teaches one how to defend themselves, but also how to come to the aid of other people.

The classes are good for children because it teaches them how to get out of situations, McMurry said.

It teaches women how to use objects around them to better protect themselves, McMurry said. Common instruments include a brief case, car door or spatula.

For everyone, the classes teach a basic theory, the three A's.

"Aware, avoid and action," are the three A's, McMurry said. "If you keep those three in mind you can keep yourself safe. Make yourself aware of situations, learn to avoid dangerous ones, and when necessary take the appropriate action."

Miles' scenario-based class teaches the same principles and will increase your awareness, he said.

"Primarily, it just keeps you in better awareness of dangerous situations," Miles said.

Miles' class also incorporates weapons with its focus on standing striking, ground fighting and take downs, he said.

McMurry's Hapkido includes similar situations, he said.

McMurry has been teaching in Harker Heights since 1995 and on Fort Hood since the 1980s.

He trains about 100 Harker Heights residents a year, a number that was at about 40 in 1995.

Miles has been teaching in Killeen for a year, and the classes consistently have about eight younger children, six older children and seven or eight adults.

Harker Heights holds Hapkido class at the Parks and Recreation Center at 307 Millers Crossing from 8 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Killeen holds three classes for different ages between 5:30 and 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Killeen Community Center, 2201 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd.

Registration for both classes takes place with the parks and recreation departments in the two cities.

"When you come to a class with us, we teach you something that you can walk away with and can use to protect yourself," Miles said. "Nothing we do is for show."

Contact Mason W. Canales at or (254) 501-7554.

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