LAPEL — Leverage over strength.
That’s what instructor James Horne said will allow a person to defend herself against a bigger, stronger assailant.
It was the message that underpinned a women’s self-defense class taught at Lapel High School on Sunday, which cost $20 and was a fundraiser for the LHS post prom.
More than 20 girls and women — many mother-daughter combinations — attended the hour-and-a-half class.
Horne, an instructor at Soma Jiu Jitsu Academy in Kokomo, said before the class that the goal was to teach people some basic moves that would enable them to escape an attacker.
It’s a question of how to go from feeling “dominated or overpowered” to a position of being able to get away, he said.
As class began, he told students “It’s your leverage that will give someone smaller a fighting chance.”

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Horne, who lives in Noblesville with his wife, Brandi — a teacher in Lapel — proceeded to teach arm twists to break free from someone’s grasp; a raise-and-roll move that allows a person who is on the ground being choked to escape; and techniques to increase distance from an attacker and to get up off the ground quickly to escape.
Rachel Milner said she signed up with daughter Lizzy, 15, as “just a mom-looking-out-for-her-daughter kind of thing.”
She said she wants her daughter to be able to protect herself as best she can by learning some self-defense skills, and Lizzy agreed.
“I think it’s important to know just in case I ever get into a situation where I need to use it,” Lizzy said.
Reanna Jessup also signed up with her daughter, Adelynn, 21, a college senior, for a number of reasons, including support for the post prom, her daughter’s safety and for her own self-defense as someone who works as a real estate agent.
“With her (Adelynn) being a young woman, and also a college student, I want her to be able to protect herself,” Reanna said.
Later via text she said, “There are times I will have to meet with clients that are total strangers and I will have to show them homes and I am by myself. You want to trust people, but can’t help but worry about your safety, too.
“Hopefully I am never in a situation where I feel my safety is in jeopardy, but at least now I am a little more prepared on how to protect myself and feel better my daughter does, too,” Reanna said.
She said Adelynn has taken other self-defense classes before and they both plan to take more in the future.
Michelle Holmes, chairwoman of the Lapel post prom committee, brought her daughters to the class.
“I have got four girls — I’d like them to be able to get out of ugly situations,” she said.
Her eldest, Emma, who will be heading off to college next year, said she liked the class.
“I think it was good skills to learn for life, really,” Emma said.
Angelie Kishpaugh and some friends from church decided to attend the class together after they realized they’d liked the same Facebook post about the class.
Near the end, Kishpaugh said she was glad she came.
“It was really for me to learn a little bit about defending myself against a man,” she said.
“I thought it was helpful. I’m a little more confident than I was yesterday,” she said, adding that she plans to practice some of what she learned at home with her husband.
Horne said the skills taught during the class could be used immediately and effectively to improve people’s ability to defend themselves, while also stressing the importance of using the right technique to have the best outcomes.
During the class, Michelle Holmes asked Horne how realistic it was for someone the size of one of her daughters to use the raise-and-roll move on a full-grown man.
Horne then invited one of her daughters, Anne-Claire, up front to do the move, and it worked.
“She could raise me because she’s doing it right,” Horne said afterward. “If you do it correctly, it’s a very effective move.”