RICHLAND COUNTY, SC (WIS) - Genova Family Karate is buzzing the day after Sheriff Leon Lott made a big announcement.
"We're going to talk about a series of robberies that escalated into kidnappings," Sheriff Lott said at the top of a news conference Thursday evening.
Lott was joined by one of the victims, Jordan Dinsmore, who bravely told her story of escape. She said multiple kidnappers had her drive them to her ATM and continued to hold her against her will afterward.
"I just saw my opportunity," she said. "I threw it into neutral and just opened the door and fell out. As I got up and started running back towards the Village -- back towards the gas stations that were 24 hours -- because I knew there were people there even if I couldn't flag the cars down."
Owner of Genova Karate, Mike Genova, was impressed.
"The girl on the TV held herself," he said. "Her composure was incredible. I've had black belt school owners from all over the city calling me, and we're all just so excited about her courage."
It's Mike Genova's job to instill that courage into others. He said no matter who's the sheriff, crime will happen, so he offered some tips.
"You want to stay in groups," the self-defense expert explained. "You want to stay in lighted areas. The later you stay out, the more danger you're in. All of those things. Be aware of your surroundings."
And he strongly encourages young and old to learn his craft. As he explained, sometimes a quick kick or a punch can help create an escape. However, that's not always the answer.
"The first 'P' is to prevent it. The next one is the prepare. The third one is the practice it," he said. "And then, the last one is to protect."
He said unless someone has a concealed weapons permit, he or she should take a martial arts class.