[heading] by: JENNIFER FRAKES [/heading]

The most important thing I wanted my students to take away from the class is confidence – to have an awareness of their surroundings so they will never have to use the moves that I taught them. I want them to walk with the look of empowerment,” explained Elizabeth Harrington, a Poway High senior who recently taught a self-defense class for her senior year project.

The hour-and-a-half class focused on two main topics: how to avoid a physical confrontation and what to do in case of a physical attack. “Verbal defense consists of presenting yourself in a confident, assertive manner so an attacker realizes you would not be an easy target. I also taught my students two simple and very strong attacks – the palm-strike and the knee-strike – to use in their self-defense,” stated Elizabeth.

Self-defense has long been a passion of Elizabeth’s and the idea of a teaching a self-defense seminar as her senior project was confirmed after the brutal attack and murder of Poway High School classmate, Chelsea King. “I wanted [my friends] to go to college with the knowledge of how to recognize and avoid dangerous situations and have the skill set to be able to defend themselves,” explained Elizabeth, who described her project as a “going-away gift” for her friends and classmates.

Elizabeth has been taking Tae Kwon Do since she was thirteen and is now an instructor at Family Karate in Rancho Penasquitos. According to Elizabeth, Tae Kwon Do is the perfect mix of exercise and strict mental discipline. “Practicing martial arts builds strong minds and strong bodies,” stated Elizabeth.

[quote] “The most important thing I wanted my students to take away from the class is confidence. I want them to walk with the look of empowerment.” ~ Elizabeth Harrington [/quote]

In addition to teaching, Elizabeth also volunteers in many classes. “I love working with the younger students and spend as much time as I can spare at the studio,” said Elizabeth, who takes two to four classes a week to keep up on her own skills.

This fall, Elizabeth will be leaving for Northern Arizona University and while she is excited for her next adventure, it is a bitter-sweet time. “I am sad to leave my studio, but I know I am leaving my students in great care. I am grateful for the time we had together and look forward to visiting them whenever I can,” declared Elizabeth.