Free self-defense class keeps women running safely on trails

Fundamental self-defense skills were taught in a free class on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. (KXAN Photo: Frank Martinez)
Fundamental self-defense skills were taught in a free class on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. (KXAN Photo: Frank Martinez)

AUSTIN (KXAN) – More than a dozen Austin runners showed up to a free self-defense class Sunday all sharing a similar fear — not being able to protect themselves against sexual assault.

Lizette Melendez organized the event after hearing that three women were attacked at different times and spots along the Lady Bird Hike and Bike Trail in the past month. Her goal was to help fellow runners build confidence.

“It definitely gives you a boost up because without that, you’re helpless,” Melendez said. “You only depend on your cell phone to call police, which sometimes doesn’t give you enough time.”

These attacks linger in the minds of regular runners like Sara Ferniza.

“I’m concerned that it’s not safe,” Ferniza said.

To give runners that extra sense of security, Melendez invited the owner of Gracie Barra South Jiujitsu to lead the class.

There, owner Alexandra Santos taught the women fundamental skills – like how to break out of a headlock and subdue an attacker long enough to get away safely.

After the class, these women walked away with new techniques to keep them running safely.

“Don’t mess with me because I know what to do,” Ferniza said.

There will be another free self-defense class Oct. 15 at 9 a.m. at Ricky Guerrero Park.

KXAN.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s