Police Dept. Helps Community Learn Self-Defense Techniques

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WESLACO – A Rio Grande Valley police department is teaching their community to fight against sexual assaults.

Dozens of women met at First Baptist Church in Weslaco Thursday night to find out how they can avoid becoming a victim.

Weslaco ISD student Danielle Garza said she and her mom, San Juanita, learned how to protect themselves.

“I’m growing up already and I’m going to go off to college, and just in case I’m not always with my mom, she knows how to defend herself,” she said.

San Juanita Garza said she wouldn’t know how to defend herself in a vulnerable situation.

“I have a tendency to walk in the park and sometimes I’m afraid of how to react if somebody were to approach me,” the mother said.

Weslaco police officer Juan Mariscal spent a couple of hours with the women to teach them techniques.

“It’s important. We all need to know how to defend ourselves, especially when we’re out there in the open,” he said.

Israel Flores teaches self-defense classes at the McAllen Family Martial Arts Academy.  

“The women that attend our self-defense classes are usually moms that first bring in their children and then they realize, ‘Hey, this might actually be something I can use,’” he said.

The Kung Fu teacher said learning self-defense doesn’t just keep a person safe. He said it can also be life changing.

“Their confidence, the way they carry themselves change. They’re able to respond to life rather than react to life,” he said. “It kind of gives them a positive self-image so that they’re able to defend themselves; not just from a physical attack but other, maybe, emotional peer-pressures.”

Danielle said she feels better knowing she and her mom are prepared to defend themselves.

The Weslaco Police Department plans to hold classes periodically for women and others to learn basic self-defense skills. 


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