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Saturday, Mar 2, 2024

Self-Defense Center to Open in Thousand Oaks

A married couple is opening a franchise of United Defense Tactical in Thousand Oaks with the goal of bringing the self-defense training that they’ve taken advantage of to the community.

The facility is being built at a strip mall at 672-684 N. Moorpark Road where Elyas and Stephanie Peshtaz have leased out multiple storefronts. They expect to open the doors to their business in May.

The franchise brings a variety of self-defense training offerings under one roof. The Peshtaz’s operation will be among the company’s first franchises.

“It’s not necessarily about firearm training or going to punch someone. Ninety percent of the time, it’s about mental preparation,” Elyas Peshtaz said. “A lot of people, when they’re put in this situation, are like a deer in headlights and don’t know what to do. A big focus is how you de-escalate a situation and avoid this conflict.”

It’s an experience they are personally informed by.

As the couple parked their car at a restaurant for dinner one evening, another motorist pulled alongside them, shouting obscenities and blocking them as they tried to walk around his vehicle. The man challenged Elyas Peshtaz to a fight and aggressively knocked Stephanie Peshtaz’s phone from her hand as she recorded the incident. The aggressor drove away after passersby intervened and called the police.

Rattled, the couple enrolled in United Tactical Defense, which was founded in 2019 by Wes Fox as an avenue to teach “dynamic self-defense” to a wider audience.

“We saw the need for it in our family and realized this is something the whole community needs,” Stephanie Peshtaz said. 

To open the franchise, the Peshtazs are paying a $40,000 franchise fee and have an item investment range of $250,000-$500,000. They expect to have 4,000-6,000 square feet of space.

The facility will offer month-to-month memberships, which will be all-inclusive of the facility’s offerings; they have not yet worked out price tiers. There will be regular classes in hand-to-hand combat, jiu jitsu and, for beginners, virtual firearm training. There will also be an advanced class, which uses mock firearms and rubber bullets.

The Peshtazs said they also expect to offer specialty classes addressing things such as self-defense for women and how to respond to carjacking attempts. There also will be a multipurpose room with gym mats and weights for exercising.

The couple expects to hire two to four trainers with law enforcement or military backgrounds. They added that they expect to work to help train people for law enforcement and security guard roles.

James Brock
James Brock
James Brock has worked in newsrooms around the world, including in New York, Paris, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Houston, and Los Angeles. He began his career with a Newhouse News daily, where he served on the news desk and the editorial page. He was the copy chief for The New York Sun, and founded and edited the personal finance section for Abu Dhabi-based The National, among other positions. He has interviewed Anthony Bourdain, Tom Ford, Mark Cuban, and many other individuals, and has written and edited thousands of stories and articles.

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