Retired law enforcement to provide self-defense class for Carter County women

Published 4:50 pm Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Retired law enforcement officer Ken Potter is coming back to teach Elizabethton women means of non-lethal self-defense, bringing in the actual tools of the trade to showcase what he means.

Potter said he will be showcasing three tools people can use in acts of self-defense from an attacker: a retractable baton, pepper spray and a miniature taser.

“The training will involve these and other techniques,” Potter said. “For example, we will teach how to break a chokehold.”

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Potter’s training class, sponsored by Carter County Drug Prevention, is part of a 15-year effort to help women escape from or outright prevent sexual, domestic or any other kind of assault. He said avoiding the threat altogether is the best method to escape harm, but inevitably, this is not possible, which is where the class comes in.

Potter told the story of a nurse who attended one of his classes five years ago. She called him back several months later to tell him about how she had been saved from a stalker in a parking lot by brandishing a taser in his direction.

“It is rewarding to know our instructions are helping in real life,” he said. “I am thankful she was saved.”

Potter said the need is so great, his class is exclusively for women. According to statistics Potter provided, one out of every six women has been the victim of attempted or completed sexual assault in her lifetime.

“Hopefully, this will never happen,” he said. “However, we will teach them things that may save their lives.”

He said he enjoys meeting and interacting with new participants in the courses, discussing their fears and concerns as he helps them help themselves.

“The training is realistic,” Potter said. “This is not about kick-boxing moves. You may not be able to do some of these things, but maybe one of these techniques will save you when you need them.”

He said the training will also teach how to defend against weaponry such as knives.

The class is open for registration until May 20, and Potter said those interested can call him at 423-341-1709 or CCDP’s Jilian Reece at 423-342-8008.

The actual class will take place on May 25 at 8:30 a.m. at the CCDP office at 546 E. Elk Avenue.

“If this training helps one person escape, it is worth it all,” Potter said.