Women learning self-defense after recent attacks. No more fear. Read more below…
After a recent attempted rape and kidnapping at a Cleveland rec center, many women are brushing up on self-defense to stay safe.
Self-defense experts say practicing simple moves can help you break free and get away if you’re grabbed by someone, but it all starts with awareness.
Surveillance cameras caught the aftermath of a violent attack on the west side of Cleveland earlier this month near West 98th Street and the Cudell Recreation Center. In the video, you can see the suspect fleeing after police say he tried to rape a woman, but she fought him off by kicking and scratching him. Police are still looking for the suspect.
Scenarios like this bring women to self-defense classes all over northeast Ohio.
The first step to stay safe? Experts say put away your cell phone or other distractions when you walk alone.
“It all starts with awareness — that’s the biggest thing. If you’re by yourself, who’s around you? Where are you?” said Kristina Michelle, lead instructor at the Cleveland Academy.
Michelle teaches “common sense self defense.”
“A lot of it is based on simple releases. Any way someone grabs you, you can get free of it,” she said.
The goal? Find your attacker’s weakness and have a plan to break free, no matter where he grabs you.
“Straight up, I’m going to turn that hand with my four fingers, trapping his hand with my muscle here, which releases that thumb and I’m free,” Michelle
said as she demonstrated how to break away from an acting aggressor.
Punches take special training and can hurt you more than the attacker, so Michelle focuses on simple moves.
“Any of these, people can practice at home. Whether women are doing them with their husbands or children to practice, if it happens tomorrow, you can get free,” she said.
Michelle recommends women and children take self-defense classes; many police departments even teach them.
She posts one-minute demonstration videos for self-defense on her website. You can view them here.
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