The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

April 11, 2008

A Peaceful Defense

Women's self defense seminar set Saturday


PALESTINE — In a world where one’s self-protection has become increasingly important, local Aikido instructor Hank Davenport is offering local women a chance to learn easy techniques that may keep them safe in a dangerous situation.

Davenport is hosting a ladies-only women’s self protection seminar Saturday at his own Aikido school, East Texas Aikido, located at 116 Main St. in Palestine. The seminar will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.

“I try to do this for ladies in the area each year,” Davenport said in a Wednesday interview. “Aikido is a martial art form that does not require a lot of force or ‘muscle,’ which makes it ideal for women.”

The seminar does more than teach physical aspects of self-defense, Davenport said. The techniques used also promote a sense of well-being, safety and self confidence.

“Aikido gets one in touch with their talents and abilities,” he said. “It allows the mind, body and spirit to work together in a satisfying way.”

Davenport has taught Aikido defense tactics to law enforcement officers who have found great success in the training.

“Aikido does not involve a lot of physical energy,” he said. “It allows us to deal with conflict without causing more; and to deal with situations with a relaxed, clear mind.”

For instance, just using a few focused moves, one can take the force of an attacker and release it in a positive manner — protecting oneself without hurting the other person.

“The real genius of Aikido is that it provides an alternative to our natural ‘fight or flight’ response,” Davenport said. “That is to blend with the conflict and transform it.”

The cost of Saturday’s seminar is $25 per person. Call 903-729-2661 to reserve a spot. Participants should bring an open mind, a sense of humor and sweats or comfy clothes, Davenport said.

Davenport, an advanced blackbelt Aikido instructor, has taught many self protection seminars. His classes are well-known for their relaxed, humorous and enjoyable approach to the serious business of self defense.

Davenport, who has taught Aikido for the past 12 years, opened East Texas Aikido in 2000. He is certified and recognized by the Aikido Nippon Kan Organization. His studio is the only certified small town dojo in Texas and participants travel as much as 100-150 miles for instruction.

Davenport also is available for private lessons by calling 903-724-1626.


Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at