Weslaco police, martial arts instructor team up for women’s self-defense class

WESLACO — Law enforcement authorities are teaming up with a local martial arts instructor to provide the community with self-defense techniques.

The Weslaco Police Department will hold a women’s self-defense class from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 13, at the First Baptist Church Gymnasium, located at 600 S. Kansas Ave. in Weslaco. Leading the class will be Ruben Rodriguez, the head instructor of Weslaco-based Progressive Scientific Fighting, who has nearly 50 years of experience in martial arts training.

Such is the demand for attendance, according to Weslaco police, that the class has already reached capacity just days after the agency posted a flier on its Facebook page.

Rodriguez said participants will learn what he called “real world” methods of defending various attacks from perpetrators.

“We teach very basic techniques that actually work in the streets for women, men and children, and it’s been very effective and doesn’t take much to understand it,” Rodriguez said. “They can grasp what it is they’re doing, which is being comfortable defending themselves in real world situations.”

Specific exercises will include instruction on how to defend from knife attacks, abduction attempts and sexual assault. Much of the focus will also be on other practical scenarios, including how to prevent or resolve unpleasant situations, such as unwanted advances, from escalating.

This is something Rodriguez said he’s seen for himself.

“For instance, there’s a technique we teach women who may be at a night club,” he prefaced. “I haven’t been at a night club for years, but I remember seeing instances where men have grabbed women by their wrists and tried dragging them to the dance floor, and women will resist. So it’s something that’s uncomfortable, but we teach them to resist where they won’t hurt the guy. We can also teach them to hurt (an assailant) if it’s necessary and gets serious, such as being abducted or if there’s rape intent.”

Other tips will include instruction on how to pull away from someone’s grasp, or from being accosted — all of which will be based on the real world environments Rodriguez noted.

“Defense against the hair grab is another thing we’ll be instructing since it’s very common,” he added. “I’ve been training since I was 5 years old and I’m 53 now, so that means I have about 48 years in martial arts experience. So just by watching, learning and teaching, we have an idea of what can happen in a real world situation.”

Those who registered for the class have been asked to bring comfortable clothing if they intend on participating in the exercises.

“We’ll be doing some talking as well as some hands-on training for them, and I’ll have eight to 10 people from the school to break them into groups,” Rodriguez said of his classroom structure. “I hope most of them will be willing to participate as far as the physical part of it.”