Elizabeth Smart to speak at kickoff to girls’, women’s self-defense program in Southern Utah

Composite image: Promotional photo of Elixabeth Smart overlaid on a women's self-defense class taking place at Ace Martial Arts in St. George, Utah, dates not specified | Photos courtesy of Ace Martial Arts, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Ace Martial Arts is excited to announce the implementation of the Smart Defense program, an 8-week program developed by martial arts and law enforcement experts aimed at teaching girls and women proper self-defense.

Part of the Elizabeth Smart Foundation’s efforts to end “victimization and exploitation of sexual assault through prevention, recovery, and advocacy,” the Smart Defense program was uniquely created to give girls and women the tools they need to have the best chance of stopping a potential threat or escaping an attacker.

The program, which is set to be implemented in various areas across the state, currently has two locations in northern Utah. Ace Martial Arts will be the first Southern Utah location to implement the program.

Jennifer Reis, co-owner of Ace Martial Arts, is a certified Smart Defense instructor and is excited to be offering the program at her studio.

“When I was asked about this (the Smart Defense program), I was 100% honored,” Reis said.

Flyer for the Elizabeth Smart Foundation Workshop held at Ace Martial Arts, St. George, Utah, date not specified | Image courtesy of Ace Martial Arts, St. George News

Reis said their gym has been teaching women’s self-defense classes for years but that she feels it is a huge honor to be asked to implement this particular program.

“I have a huge respect for Elizabeth Smart,” Reis said. “This is a great curriculum.”

In order to introduce the program, a special event is being held Saturday at 11 a.m. at Ace Martial Arts, 2746 E. 850 N. in St. George.

The event will feature a talk by Elizabeth Smart, who will speak about her foundation and her experiences as a child-trafficked survivor.

Local advocate, founder of Save the Next Girl and mother of a sex-trafficked survivor Amie Ellis will also speak at the event.

Following the talks there will be a meet-and-greet with Smart as well as a free self-defense workshop for girls and women ages 12 and up, as well as a stranger-danger workshop for younger girls.

Reis said that she feels it is important for all women to be able to defend themselves.

“It is important for women to have those tools,” she said.

The event is free to attend and registration is not required; however, guests who plan to attend are asked to RSVP on the Ace Martial Arts Facebook event.

Event details

  • What: Smart Workshop featuring Elizabeth Smart.
  • When: Saturday, Jan. 9, 11 a.m.
  • Where: Ace Martial Arts, 2746 E. 850 N., St. George.
  • Cost: Free.
  • RSVP: On the Ace Martial Arts Facebook event.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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