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Austin martial arts teacher stresses importance of self-defense

Alec Rains with The Mat Martial Arts said learning some protective moves could save your life.

AUSTIN, Texas — Last week, police said a man snuck up behind a woman walking her dogs in South Austin and put her in a chokehold

She fought back and got away, which is one reason why self-defense teacher Alec Rains said learning some moves could be vital.

"Can you find yourself more aware of your surroundings?" Rains said. "What are those things you're looking out for and how can you defend yourself? Whether it's creating space or to physically stop something from happening."

He said if you feel like something's wrong, you're probably right.

"It could be something as simple as, you see something and you avoid it by just not being there. All the way until something has happened to have physically put you at harm and you can protect yourself," Rains said. 


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He said it doesn't take a lot to start taking classes.

"They need the ability to walk in the door and have an open mind and embrace an opportunity that might be scary but also could be exhilarating and exciting and educational," Rains said.

Rains' classes at The Mat Martial Arts aren't the only ones available locally. The Leander Police Department offers free self-defense classes exclusively for women.

"We want all of our citizens to feel secure, and the women had been the most vocal, as far as asking about the classes," Leander PD Sergeant Helen Garrett said.

She said she's noticed a difference with the women attending the class.

"As a group, they feel a lot more confident, excited after the class. A lot of them are interested in signing up for the 8-hour class," Sgt. Garrett said.

Rains said self-defense classes aren't just for women. He said everyone should take a class.

"Any age, it doesn't really matter. There's a different appropriation to self-defense, depending on the scenario you're in. They all teach awareness and confidence, and so there really isn't anybody that shouldn't have that training." Rains saod.

The Mat Martial Arts will have a women's self-defense seminar on August 11.

Leander police will have their free women's self-defense class on August 26. You can email hgarrett@leandertx.gov if you're interested. 


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