New classes keep Airmen physically, mentally ready

RAF MILDENHALL, England -- The 100th Air Refueling Wing Sexual Assault Prevention and Response office is coordinating new classes open to active duty and civilian personnel and their family members.

The classes in self defense and yoga are aimed at making Team Mildenhall Airmen more resilient by strengthening personal protective factors such as self confidence, mindfulness, empowerment, and mental and physical strength to provide Airmen with tools to engage in healthy relationships and better manage stressors.

Self-defense classes are held Saturdays from 8:45 to 9:45 a.m., in the Northside Fitness Center. These classes are open to all Department of Defense identification card holders, spouses and children ages 16 or over. Those interested can just show up or contact 01638 547356 or 01638 547963 for more information.

In addition, Jiu Jitsu courses are offered on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 4:45 to 6:45 p.m.  Additional techniques are taught on Friday evenings from 4:45 to 6:45 p.m. where instructors offer "open mat" which is an opportunity for participants to practice techniques they have learned in the self-defense course and ask any questions.  

The instructors are available to help anyone of any level.

"We are holding classes to improve on self-awareness, confidence and resilience through training, education, empowerment and practicing self-defense techniques," said Staff Sgt. Saul Grosshuesch, 100th Maintenance Squadron unit deployment manager. "The techniques taught in the self-defense course are based on the techniques and principles of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which uses leverage and techniques to subdue opponents rather than strength alone."

Yoga classes are held Mondays from 5 to 6 p.m. and Thursdays from 11 to 11:45 a.m., in building 670, in the SAPR classroom. These classes are open to all DoD ID card holders, spouses and children ages 13 or over. Those interested can just show up or contact 01638 542009 or 01638 545723 for more information.

The yoga instructors hope to help people develop mindfulness, increase flexibility and build strength.

"I hope these class offerings provide yoga class participants a relaxing and comfortable environment in which to discover portable stress reduction techniques which they can use anywhere and anytime in life to successfully minimize and manage stressors they may encounter at work or in their personal lives," said Dana Howard, a yoga teacher and dependent spouse. "If the resiliency yoga classes achieve these guidelines, I gain an intrinsic reward in being present as someone achieves a positive breakthrough in their life or their (yoga) practice, or learns how to tap into their own inner strength to discover in themselves what makes them extraordinary."

The classes are held in building 670, and aimed at military members and their families, and the stresses they face while serving their nation.

Participants are seeing the benefits from taking the classes.

"It helps with my flexibility and strength," said Denise Rutter, spouse of Master Sgt. Brett Rutter, 95th Reconnaissance Squadron production superintendent. "I can attend this class while my daughter is at nursery as the time works well for me."

The SAPR office is coordinating the classes and hope they can help people who take part.

"Although helpful in general, yoga has been shown to have positive therapeutic effects for survivors of traumatic events," said Dr. Ivonn Ellis-Wiggan, 100th Air Refueling Wing Sexual Assault Response Coordinator. "It is a portable tool that people can use to manage stress and develop physical and mental strength. This class, along with the self-defense class, builds self-confidence and empowers participants.  These classes also enhance mindfulness, thus making people more aware of their surroundings, what messages they are being bombarded with from media about relationships, sex, violence, drinking and other destructive behaviors. The primary reason that SAPR implements these classes is to increase the protective factors of Team Mildenhall Airmen and to foster resilience."  

There may be a time in someone's life where they may need the skills they learn in the classes, the instructors hope that by being prepared, people are ready to react.

"We want individuals of our community to feel empowered; both emotionally and physically prepared if they ever have to face an unexpected life event," Grosshuesch said. "We want everyone to be the best prepared for the worst day of their life, and escape to tell their story!"

All fitness classes are open to any skill level.