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Local self-defense teacher offers tips on how to fight off attacker

The recent deaths of three women murdered while engaging in hobbies and sports they loved has struck a nerve with some.
Tyson Coates at Total Self Defense says there's been an upsurge in his classes, especially among women (Source: WTOL)

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - The recent deaths of three women murdered while engaging in hobbies and sports they loved has struck a nerve with some.

"It's something that us women have to think about now. Before we never really had to," said Tyson Coates, owner of Total Self Defense in Toledo.

He says that since the recent murders, he's noticed an upsurge in his classes, especially with women.

"The more we hear about it on TV, the more people are vocalizing that they too had an experience, saw something that wasn't right and then they realize after that, hey, that could've been something," said Coates.

His classes focus on simple yet effective ways everyone can learn from when it comes to taking matters into their own hands if faced with an attacker.

Coates says before even getting physical with the attacker, though, you should give yourself as much distance between them and yourself, and back away with your hands in fighting position.

He also suggests yelling the word "Fire" if attacked instead of calling for "Police."

Coates also says keeping pepper spray on you at all times could save your life without having to even make physical contact with the attacker.

While the deaths of Mollie Tibbetts, Celia Barquin Arozamena and Wendy Martinez scare Renee Small of the Toledo Roadrunners, she says you can't let it stop you from living your life.

"We can't live in fear either. I think that's big, too," said Small. "You can't live your life around what could happen you just have to live your life and just do it as safely as you can."

If you're interested in taking classes with Tyson at Total Self Defense.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind to keep yourself safe while running:

  • Run with a group of people
  • Be aware of your surroundings
  • Try not to run near bushes where someone may hide
  • Avoid streets with lots of doorways or allyways where you can't see who or what may be around
  • Run against traffic so you can see cars approaching you
  • Run with confidence

Someone that is looking to attack or harass someone is often looking for someone who looks vulnerable.

Even if you don't feel confident, act like you are.

Run with your shoulders back, look passersby in the eye, say hello, and don't show fear.

Say a loud, confident sounding "hello." Show any would be attacker that you are not someone they want to mess with.

If you feel comfortable, run with pepper spray.

Pepper spray is easy to purchase and can be carried in your hand on the run with ease.

Just be sure to research city laws first so you know your city's rules for proper use.

Know how to operate the spray, and be prepared in case the need arises.

One way to help you show confidence is to wave at pedestrians as they pass with the pepper spray clearly visible and say a boisterous "hello."

Show everyone you pass by a friendly attitude, but let them know you are prepared and are not to be messed with.

Research the area you will be running.

You can look up the crime rate in different parts of cities or towns easily online. Research areas you are planning to run and choose safer neighborhoods, even if this means you must drive a little further. Safety is a priority.

Run with reflective gear/safety lights at night.

The evenings are getting darker early. But with race training and general fitness goals, those runs still need to happen! When heading out at night, look to run in well-trafficked areas that have well-lit running paths. Make yourself visible by wearing reflective gear (pants, shirts, tights), a reflective vest and headlamp.

Always let someone know where you are headed and run with your phone. Don't simply head out for a run by yourself without telling someone where you are going and when to expect you back.