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Bonney Lake's Martial Arts College to add new Kid-Safe Program to course offerings

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By Teresa Herriman, The Courier-Herald

The grainy video showing a man leading an 11-year-old girl away from a Sarasota, Fla., car wash has been hard to avoid and even harder to watch. It is every parent's nightmare and it happens all too often in this country.

Bruce Nagel, co-owner with his wife, Dale, of the College of Martial Arts in Bonney Lake, feels child abductions are as bad as terrorism. "It has to have that kind of focus," he said. "It changes the way kids live their lives."

That is why the Nagels have teamed with the National Security Alliance (NSA) to offer Kid-Safe, a six-week program for children and their parents, designed to increase awareness, provide up-to-date material and teach children how to be safe.

When Bruce, a 5th degree Tae Kwon Do Master who holds an International Masters Certificate, first looked at the course material for the program and said he was floored by how ignorant he was of how predators operate. But before he would commit to teaching the program, he needed to be convinced that the National Security Alliance, despite its government-sounding name, was legitimate. He had a couple of police officers, who attend classes at the College of Martial Arts do a security check for him. At the same time, NSA was doing an FBI security check on him and his wife. With documentation in hand, they all gave each other a clean bill and began the process of creating a program in Bonney Lake.

Bruce and Dale received their certification to teach the program in August last year. Beginning in March, the Nagels will offer the first of the classes, focusing on the most vulnerable segment of the population, 9- to 16-year-old girls. The classes are conducted for two hours each week at the College of Martial Arts. A second class designed for 9- to 16 boys, will be added in the summer.

The goal of the program is to raise awareness and provide tools to help keep children safe. The course teaches children practical information, such as danger awareness and avoiding what Bruce calls, "victim vibes." The NSA provides information on common lures to help 0children and their parents or guardians be better educated regarding the tactics often used by predators and child molesters. Students practice escape techniques and adults are given advice about how to recognize an abduction.

"I hate to be preoccupied with it," Bruce said. "It's so painful to think about, but we have got to start paying more attention."

Although the program is separate from the usual course offerings at the 12-year old school, it fits within the College of Martial Arts' mission of instilling discipline, confidence, dedication and focus. The school uses a variety of martial arts courses to teach techniques that build self-confidence and self-esteem.

For information about the program, call the Bonney Lake College of Martial Arts at 253-863-9494 or visit the National Security Alliance Web site at www.kidsafenetwork.com.

The state of Washington does not maintain an internet listing of registered sex offenders. However, the Pierce County Sheriff Department posts a list of known sex offenders in this area at www.co.pierce.wa.us/pc/Abtus/ourorg/sheriff/sexoff/sormain.htm.

Teresa Herriman can be reached at therriman@courierherald.com

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