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Women's self-defense class focuses on city survival tactics

February 20, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sexual assault, violence and stalking are major public health problems in the U.S. Statistics show that an estimated 13 percent of all women have experienced unwanted sexual contact at some point in their lives. One local martial arts expert is empowering women by giving them the tools to fight back.

"I was attacked on the beach in October, and I lived and got away," said Santa Monica resident Dana Romaniuk.

Romaniuk is an avid runner. She didn't let a brutal assault stop her. Instead, she decided to fight back.

"I have to get out there and start running again and not let this affect my life and not let my attacker kind of win," said Romaniuk.

She was introduced to martial arts expert Kevin Kinnon, who holds "City Survival Workshops" for women serious about safety.

"The realization came to me that there's really no way for a woman to defend herself without a weapon," said Kinnon.

Kinnon says the weapon he chose is a compact tool known as a "kubaton."

"You carry the kubaton on your key chain, it's with you all the time," said Santa Monica resident Cindy Stogel. "He taught us how to get up off the ground and away from somebody and use the kubaton to defend ourselves against him."

It may be painful to watch, but graduation from the seminar isn't complete until you can get away from Kinnon, who's big.

"I'm 200 pounds and I go full force and I don't lay off at all," said Kinnon.

Since a real-life attacker doesn't wear pads, neither does Kinnon. He wants women to know what it's really like to defend themselves.

"We're on the ground, he's behind us, we have to get out. And it was like a flashback for me," said Romaniuk.

Kinnon visited prison, wanting to get more insight into the criminal mind to better help women defend themselves.

"These men are like hunters and they find their hunting ground, whether it's a shopping mall, underground parking structure, the one common thread is that they all hate women and they're looking for the easiest prey," said Kinnon.

By the end of the class, Kinnon wants to make sure each woman knows how to use the kubaton and, most importantly, how to behave every day, everywhere.

"I run with my kubaton in my hand," said Romaniuk.

"You need to have your keys out when you're walking to your car, not futzing for them in your purse. Have a 360 view of your world around you. Don't sit in your car and text people," said Stogel.

This situational awareness and practicing an attack is key.

"The adrenaline rush, that fear, that panic, how to control that," said Kinnon.

That has helped Romaniuk move on and reclaim her life.

"You have to just have confidence and know you're going to get away," said Romaniuk.

For more information, visit the City Survival Self Defense Facebook page.


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