High School PE Class Fights off Mock Kidnapper

These teens get a taste of what it is like to fight for their lives.

Not many physical education class curriculums include being taught to fight. At Amador Valley High School, eleventh graders are not only taught to fight, they are being taught to fight for their lives.

The high school class participated in the S.A.F.E K.I.D.S class offered by Esteller Martial Arts in Pleasanton as part of their "Body Shaping" course taught by Dawn Silva.

According to Ron Esteller, the owner of Esteller Martial Arts in Pleasanton and in San Leandro, the students walk down to the studio three days a week, for three weeks, as part of their P.E. class to learn critical self defense skills.

"We are the best kept secret in town," said Esteller. "We teach the techniques kids need to get away [from an attacker] and use 'adrenal stress training' to make it feel very real. The confidence building in this training is awesome."

The teenage girls met at the studio to fight off their "attacker" of the day, Justin Camara, an instructor from the Delta Kajukenbo School of Self Defense in Tracy. Camara, dressed in full protective gear, tried to drag each girl "to the van" as they attempted to fight him off.

Camara, 23, says he is happy to endure the kicks and punches dealt out by the girls.

"They are going to take something away from this," he said.

Syndey Gullo, an eleventh grader at Amador Valley High School, said this is the first time she has taken this class.

"I really wanted to take it," she said. "I was a little nervous in the beginning but it felt very comfortable. Before this class I probably wouldn't have known what to do being attacked. I probably would have just screamed. Now I know what to do."

Gullo says her parents are really proud of her taking the course.

Esteller has been teaching the S.A.F.E K.I.D.S class free of charge to high school students for over ten years. This year, students paid a $20 donation, which Esteller says will be used for his scholarship fund available to students depending on their need.

"S.A.F.E stands for 'survey, avoid, flee and engage'," he said. "And K.I.D.S is an acronym for 'kids in danger survive'."

Esteller offers classes for all age ranges at the Pleasanton and has students from as far away as Santa Cruz, San Ramon and Stockton. The kajukenbo martial arts he teaches at Esteller is a blend of karate (ka), ju jitsu (ju), kempo (ken) and Chinese boxing or kung fu (bo). Read his full story here.

Follow Esteller's blogs on Patch:

  • S.A.F.E.K.I.D.S Anti-Abduction Strategies And Techniques
  • BLOG: Esteller Martial Arts S.A.F.E Tip #1
  • EMA S.A.F.E Tip #2 Security Systems
  • Workplace Safety: A Martial Arts Instructor's Reaction to the Oikos University Shooting
  • Martial Arts Blogger Discusses the Perils of Not Wearing a Seatbelt in the Wake of His Cousin's Death
Dennis Duarte December 25, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Thank you Chris. Danger has always been around us since the dawn of time, and I truly believe that knowing how to defend one's self is as important as learning to read and write. Predators are smart, they wait until the victum is alone before they attack. Hence the urgency in what we do. Thank you again Chris for sharing your sentiments.
Dennis Duarte December 25, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Just curious....If we can swing it in our 2013 schedule....would those reading this come to an "Open House" if we had one? Weigh in, if you don't mind. Mahalo!
Dennis Duarte January 22, 2013 at 03:13 PM
To Californicated1, I just read your posting, and quite frankly Sir/Madam, I am perplexed by your opinion. Would be so kind as to share w/me and the other readers your experience with the S.A.F.E. K.I.D.S. Program, Esteller Matial Arts and/or Prof. Ron Esteller or his staff/students. Thank you.
Dennis Duarte January 22, 2013 at 03:15 PM
Hello Everyone, Now that the turn of the year is settling down, just a friendly reminder that we would love to have you come by our school to see what we do. Nothing more...Just come by and watch. Hope to see you there. Mahalo!
Dennis Duarte January 27, 2013 at 04:32 PM
Thank you Chris H. We appreciate your comments and sentiments. We agree that there is a new kind of Evil (for a lack of better words) that is affecting and praying on our kids, and we are just hoping to do our part in trying to help. With respect to your comment about the rants on society. I agree, but feel compelled to at least even position for the observers. Thanks again and bid you a most wonderful day....Enjoy!


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