A prosecutor with punch

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Marc and Maria Jouan, at ATA Martial Arts of West Chester will provide self-defense training to crime victims.

When Chester County Assistant District Attorney Marilyn M. Seide saw the fear that crippled some crime victims, her taekwondo training kicked in: Why not help victims protect themselves so they feel less vulnerable?

So Seide enlisted resources from the Chester County District Attorney's Office, the Crime Victims Center of Chester County and ATA Martial Arts of West Chester, where she has been training since January 2010. The result: a free clinic July 9 from  2:30 to  3:30 p.m. at the martial arts school in Bradford Plaza, 658 Downingtown Pike, West Chester, (610 344-9370).

Seide said she was delighted that her instructors, Marc and Maria Jouan, agreed to donate their time, and she hopes that the program will empower victims who might be reluctant to proceed with a prosecution.

 Seide would like the training to become a regular offering and even a model for a national program. She said she could envision the American Taekwondo Association, a national organization, promoting such an effort to their affiliates as a community service.  "Those affiliates could reach out to their local law enforcement, offering a free clinic with the hope of turning it into a regular occurrence," she said.

 Since space for the July 9 clinic is limited, Seide said participants should email her - mseide@chesco.org - or Crime Victim advocate Ashley Coyle at ashleyc@CVCofCC.org to sign up or receive more information. For information on taekwondo, ATA Martial Arts has a web site: http://atapennsylvania.com/ .