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Have a plan for self defense
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Robin Clark, owner and instructor of McMinnville Jiu-Jitsu Academy, and Tammy Jones demonstrate an escape tactic when confronted by an attacker.
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Robin Clark, owner and instructor of McMinnville Jiu-Jitsu Academy, and Tammy Jones demonstrate an escape tactic when confronted by an attacker.

Picture yourself walking to your car in a parking lot. As you gather your car keys, someone grabs you from behind. These situations, as well as those of domestic abuse, are why self-defense is an important survival skill for everyone to learn, especially women.

The Washington Post states according to a 2018 report on the killing of women and girls released by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, about 87,000 females were killed worldwide in 2017 with 58 percent of them being victims of domestic or family violence. 

Robin Clark, owner and instructor of McMinnville Jiu-Jitsu Academy on Spring Street, provided helpful tips on how to better protect yourself from an attacker. Clark has practiced Jiu-Jitsu for most of his life and has taught in McMinnville since 2010. 

“You have to be trained. If you want self-defense skills, it’s not something you can learn by watching a three-minute video on YouTube. It takes repetition,” advises Clark when it comes to self-defense tactics women can use. “You develop reflexes so that when you’re under duress you don’t think about it. Your body moves and it moves the right way.”

Individuals should be aware of their environment. Increasing awareness includes limiting distractions while walking in public and avoiding constantly staring down at your phone. 

While walking, be sure to be able to hear sounds around you, have keys ready to unlock the car, walk with confidence and purpose and trust your gut instincts. 

If a feeling of discomfort is prevalent while being around someone, express those feelings to that individual. If they don’t stop making you uncomfortable, stay away from them. Family, friends and strangers should all respect your boundaries.

“The best way to avoid a dangerous situation is by not putting yourself into one. Be aware of the surroundings and danger which could be faced,” says Clark. “Look for warning signs such as dating someone who is possessive or jealous, and avoid drinking a large amount of alcohol in an unsafe location or situation.”

Clark feels as though there’s no substitute for training and says it’s the best thing to learn how to properly defend yourself and stay safe. 

“The best way for a woman to protect herself is by using a leverage technique and be comfortable enough in doing so to know the right timing,” says Clark. “You probably won’t be able to out muscle a guy, but if his base is a little off and the right leverage is applied at the right time, you can escape and get away.”

Kicking someone in the groin or gouging someone in the eyes is something to be used if all else fails. 

Jiu-Jitsu combines karate, judo, wrestling and other forms of martial arts. Jiu-Jitsu uses body mechanics to modify the techniques to make the practice more feasible for all people, regardless of gender, age, strength or height. 

Clark believes that after a year of training, the odds of survival improves by probably 100 percent due to learning the movements and when to act. Gracie Jiu-Jitsu’s classes contain both males and females, but Clark offers private women’s self-defense seminars, as well. 

Tammy Jones has been practicing Jiu-Jitsu for over five years and advises women to not be intimated and to take the classes to learn how to react in the real world if threatened. 

“I feel more confident when going out by myself. I am more aware of my surroundings and look up and out rather than down at my feet,” says Jones. “You must know what’s around you in order to be prepared to act.” 

There are several tips gives in case of an emergency situation occurs, stating to focus on the vulnerable areas, such as the eyes, nose, throat and groin, as well as avoiding the chest and knees. 

“Use all of your force and aggression during execution,” advises “Make it known that you’re a powerful lady. Use your voice, too. Be loud to intimidate the attacker and create attention in case somebody is nearby.”

If you feel you are in danger, stay in a public, well-lit area, don’t go home or turn away from crowds. Go into a populated area to ask for help. Everyday blunt or sharp objects can be used to hit, throw, stab or swing at an attacker.

Gracie Jiu-Jitsu holds classes six days a week from beginner-friendly to expert levels. If interested in signing up, or for more information, call (931) 261-4183 or visit