Learn how to get away from an attacker at free ‘In Our Shoes’ self-defense seminar

Join the free self-defense class at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

At a free seminar Tuesday, community members will have the opportunity to learn self-defense techniques to get out of dangerous situations.
John F. Russell
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STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Trea Payne is 6-foot-3 and 270 pounds, and on Tuesday, he plans to spend an hour and a half getting beat up by women. Payne, a martial artist and personal trainer, teaches self-defense classes targeted to help women get out of dangerous situations.

“When I teach a seminar, if they’re comfortable with it, I want them to feel what it’s like to have a man my size on top of them, and to try to get out of that situation,” Payne said.

In conjunction with the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s In Our Shoes series, Payne and his mother, Therese Bartholomew, will lead a free self-defense seminar from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Depot Art Center. The seminar will teach basic self-defense movements and anatomy to help people get away from an attacker.

The class is open to the community, though Payne has expertise teaching women’s self-defense classes.

Payne said participants should bring “an open mind and a willingness to fight.” He added that you won’t learn to be Bruce Lee in his courses, but you’ll learn skills to keep your wits and get out of a situation.

“My curriculum is very basic, and you don’t need to be some crazy athlete to do it,” he said. “You just need to have a willingness to learn and to fight.”

The seminar will cover the basics of self-defense, including awareness of your surroundings, very basic striking movements and anatomy.

Bartholomew, herself a martial artist and a survivor of adolescent sexual assault and two attacks at gunpoint, will help lead the class. Tara Shaffer will also share her story of how Krav Maga, a form of martial arts, helped her move past her own sexual assault. A victim advocate from Advocates of Routt County will be available to talk to anybody who might want to speak to an advocate.  

If you go

What: In Our Shoes self defense seminar
When: 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 27
Where: Baggage Room in the Depot Art Center at 1001 13th St.
Cost: Free

Payne, who has practiced martial arts since he was a kid, said he was inspired to start training women and teaching women’s self-defense classes based on childhood memories of his mother being threatened at gunpoint. — twice.

“She didn’t fight off the attacker, per se,” he said. “She used her biggest weapon, which is her brain, and managed to get away from both attacks. I was probably 4 years old when that happened, and I can tell you what the police officer looked like that was handling her case. I can tell you the color of the gum my mom was chewing when she was all panicky. That really left kind of a scar on me.”

From then on, even as a child, he said he felt like he had to be his mom’s bodyguard.

“That really affected me, and I wanted to help women be able to get out of that, because honestly, if she wouldn’t have gotten away, God only knows what would have happened to her,” he said.  

For those who might be interested in taking their self-defense training a step further, Payne is teaching an eight-week women’s self-defense class at Colorado Mountain College Steamboat from Aug. 28 to Oct. 16. To register and for more information, visit

Payne also teaches boxing, Thai boxing, mixed martial arts and self-defense in private sessions through his company Valley Town Boxing.

To reach Eleanor Hasenbeck, call 970-871-4210, email or follow her on Twitter @elHasenbeck.

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