Officials: Children should still be taught to stay safe

January 27, 2009

By Chantelle Lusebrink


While an alleged child abduction Jan. 19 turned out to be a hoax, school district officials said child abductions do happen, and it’s best to be cautious around strangers.They are reminding parents and students that they should:

-always walk to and from school or other locations in groups.

-use paved walkways — not shortcuts through wooded areas.

-not interact with unknown people or animals.

For families interested in learning more involved self-defense tactics, there are a few options in the area. 

True Martial Arts, in the Pine Lake Village, offers self-defense seminars, as does Karate West, on East Lake Sammamish Parkway. 

In response to the alleged kidnapping incident, True Martial Arts has scheduled a free public safety course. 

“We felt a void and we just wanted to step up,” said Skyler Zoppi, co-owner of True Martial Arts.

Children can also enroll in seasonal youth karate classes through the Issaquah Parks and Recreation Department.

Karate West will also have a free public seminar, said Randy Holeman, co-owner of Karate West, who teaches the Step Defense Program at Issaquah schools, as well as to other youth groups. 

“With little children, the main thing they can do is bite,” he said. 

For children 11 or older, there are techniques they can learn to slip out of someone’s grasp — it depends on the difference in size and strength between the child and adult, he explained.

But children should do everything in their power not to get into a grab situation, according to Johann Sasynuik, a kung fu instructor from Fall City. Sasynuik had a kung fu studio on Front Street from 1993-2008 and still teaches students from Issaquah. Today, he teaches a youth class three times a week in Fall City. 

“The fact of it is, if it’s some 6-foot guy, you’re not likely to beat him,” he said. “You’re better off, in the long run, avoiding that.”

If your child encounters a dangerous situation with a stranger, school district officials recommend using part of the Step Defense Program:

-Step back away from the stranger.

-Keep a “bubble of safety” of at least 15 feet between you and the stranger. Once you are more than 15 feet away, the chances of him or her re-engaging you are small.

-Draw attention to yourself by yelling as loud as you can. Yelling “stranger” rather than “help” lets everyone within earshot know that this is not a game.

-Get slippery. Pull your arms into your chest (without crossing them),  making you harder to grab by the arms. 

-Run to safety — any place where there are other people. First choice is to run to adults. The second choice is to run to children. Never run and hide. You need witnesses. The rules to running: Look where you are running (not behind you). You are not allowed to get tired until you are safe.

-Bite. If a stranger grabs you, fight back. You do not need to become a victim. The best weapon for everyone is biting. The human bite has between 100 and 200 pounds of pressure. Rules to biting: Step toward the attacker; bite whatever is closest; bite as hard as you can; and don’t stop biting until he or she lets you go. Then, run to safety.

Reach Reporter Chantelle Lusebrink at 392-6434, ext. 241, or or Reporter J.B. Wogan at ext. 247 or Comment on this story at


On the Web

Learn more about self-defense classes at:,, and 4


Get free training

True Martial Arts

11 a.m. – noon Jan. 31

2912 228th Ave. S.E., Sammamish



Karate West

Noon – 1 p.m. Jan. 31

3310 E. Lake Sammamish Parkway S.E., Sammamish


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