Kingston After Dark: Brain-safe choices

Amy Luke wants you to protect (above) ya neck.

Amy Luke wants you to protect (above) ya neck.

This week, instead of my usual entertainment or culture analysis, we are going to talk about self-defense. It is a topic often directly related to the quality of nightlife — or life in general — thus it bears mention herein.

Triumph Karate and Be Real About Injuries Now (B.R.A.I.N.) Programs, Inc. are joining forces to run a Women’s self-defense class on Thursday, Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. Girls 13 and up are welcome to attend the class, which will be held Triumph Karate, 721 Broadway, Kingston.

Be Real About Injuries Now (B.R.A.I.N.) Programs, Inc. is newly founded and locally run non-profit. “Our mission is to educate the community about the realities of brain injury,” says founder Amy Luke. “Our motto is ‘Be Real, Be Safe, Make B.R.A.I.N. Safe Choices.’ We live in a fast-paced society where we are constantly on the go and becoming less connected to people personally and more connected to people via the Internet and technology. We are unaware of how our actions and choices are putting us at risk for victimization.”


Amy continues, “We want to teach women how to be make B.R.A.I.N.-safe choices through increasing their confidence and learning basic awareness skills that will help to protect them in the community.”

Lack of awareness tends to be the biggest reason women are victimized. How often do you leave the mall or a store at night and have your cell phone out and your hands full?  B.R.A.I.N. wants to help you learn some basic strategies that will help you to make better choices and to protect yourself if need be.

“We believe that teaching teenage girls especially, how to be confident in their choices will help them to make safe decisions,” Luke says. “Knowing the risks is the first step to prevention. Strong girls equal strong minds. Bullying is all too prevalent in society these days and this topic will be gone over in our self-defense class. We want girls to know what to do if they or a friend are being bullied and where can you go for help. Self-defense isn’t always about raising your fists. We want women to think before they get into a situation that can be dangerous — prevent victimization before it happens.”

Master Rodney Batista, a fifth-degree black belt in the martial art Tang Soo Do, has years of experience teaching martial arts and helping to change many local lives. He is the owner of Triumph Karate and has volunteered his time and studio to teach this class. All proceeds from this class will go to B.R.A.I.N. Programs in order for the organization to further their mission.

Spots are limited for the Women’s Self Defense Class for more information and to register online please go to the website at

Urging continual growth

Let’s move on and close out this week with a brief look back to recap last weekend and an urge for continued growth. Before that, happy birthday as I pen this to the late, great Jeff Hannemen of my beloved Slayer — you aren’t missing that much of late in the metal world, dude. Or maybe you are — Dead Channels, Holy Grail, Irata and many younger bands are keeping the rock alive, locally and nationally.

For the record, I also am aware that listening to Slayer does not always lead to brain safety, so please don’t associate the first half of this article with my ramblings. Metal does help with catharsis and release sometimes, but it’s really important to learn how to meditate also. Let’s hope Phil Anselmo (for example) is headed for a reflective, much more Zen stage in the near future.

People are still raving, on a glammier and more fashion-centric note, about Anna Rexia’s Bowie-themed BSP event as well as indie band Bearquilt’s Radio Woodstock-approved appearance at the Jan. 30 Uptown Boogaloo. The Grape and The Grain and the acclaimed London Souls were also said by citizenry who attended to have really lit fires for the crowd. The city streets were extra messy the next morning, but from all indications most are declaring the past weekend’s festivities successful. Remember that if you do go out and celebrate in our fair city to please pick up after yourself and drive responsibly, or not at all.

The first month of the year is behind us. Let’s try and settle into a good grove, because so much to enjoy is headed Kingston’s way. Stockade bartender Josh Rosenmeier is venturing to make a details-yet-to-be-fully revealed record with Matt Pond and friends helping nurture the songs to completion. Prince Rama will return in the coming weeks to ensure the city has a funkified future in store. Heck, we are just getting the 2016 ball rolling.

Let’s try to move into the New Year with continued respect and acceptance for each other, while we debate finer Constitutional points, whether Ben Affleck will be a good Batman or whatever tragedy or triumph is in front of us. It might not make it all better, but it sure won’t make it worse.