There have been 18 reported church shootings since 1999. Three in Georgia and one in South Carolina. 

The old saying goes, it’s better to have and not need– than to need and not have. That’s why people in the CSRA came to Whole Life Ministries in Augusta to learn some self-defense tactics.

Bill Godbee goes to The Assembly at Augusta and said, “Things could happen that your mind doesn’t even fathom.”

“Sitting at church, anything could happen and we all have the same feelings, the same questions because what makes this situation different than others like schools and government buildings is we have to find balance between an open door ministry. Which is what the church is. As well as a safe environment for those that choose to worship and to worship without threat or distraction,” said Zachary Goodwin. He goes to The Hill Baptist Church.

On March 2, many people across the CSRA not only learned ways to protect themselves but more about the grim reality that threats against churches don’t seem to be going away.

“I think Christianity has been under attack since Jesus walked on the earth and I think just as time has sped up and things have gone on it’s become more and more under attack. I think the church just has to stand up for what we believe in,” said Whole Life Ministries security detail Aaron Cohrs.

Goodwin added, “When it happens it happens and that’s why we have these types of seminars is to get a routine of what to do in that situation.”

During the seminar, the main focus was on the Israeli self-defense method, Krav Maga.

“It’s a no-nonsense system. It’s a gross motor skill system so what that means is it’s very easy to learn. It’s very easy to remember and most importantly, it’s easy to perform under stress,” said self-defense expert Tony Price.

Wendy Thompson has two daughters and she hopes they’ll know what to do during unpredictable times.

She said, “It’s very important for a woman to invest in herself and to learn skills to mitigate threats and keep her safe.”

“It’s important for us to remain situationally aware in a world that is changing,” said Goodwin.

Cohrs says resolving dangerous situations peacefully is the main goal, but it doesn’t hurt to have some self-defense moves in your back pocket.

“It’s kind of like a dimmer switch. You might bring it down to a lower level of readiness but you’re ready to take it up as they cause you to do it.”

Price added, “It’s better to learn it and to know and never need it than really need it and wish you never had it.”