Oak Lawn Residents Defend Themselves in Free Seminar

Like many who live Dallas’ Oak Lawn neighborhood, Chuck Gary is sick of looking at the headlines these days.

“You read woman attacked, woman raped, man attacked and robbed, man beaten,” said Gary. “It’s just a horrible thing.”

It’s why he’s taken it upon himself to do something about it.

“Everybody is concerned in the neighborhood,” said Gary. “Hopefully, we can help people be safe.”

Gary has studied martial arts for most of his life and has taught self-defense classes for more than six years. Sunday, he and some of his friends hosted a free seminar for community members, showing them different techniques and maneuvers they can use if they’re ever in a tough spot.

“The pressure points, learning that was kind of neat,” said Michael Paul Hebert, who attended the seminar.

Hebert made it a point to attend. He says his boyfriend in Houston was recently the victim of an attack.

“I’ve never had any type of homophobia directed my way my entire life,” said Hebert. “It’s been great. And so this happening here has really been a total shift.”

He left the seminar feeling better.

“Just kind of the basic maneuvers makes me a feel a little bit more confident,” said Hebert.

That’s precisely the reaction Gary hoped for. But he says if there’s one thing he wants attendees to take with them, it’s to pay attention and be vigilant when they’re out at night.

“One of the sayings is the best fight you’ll ever have – the one you’ll always win is the one you don’t have,” said Gary. “If you can protect yourself and identify what’s coming up at you, you can avoid this situation.”

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