• Families take advantage of free self-defense classes after recent attacks near Jacksonville Beach

    By: Beth Rousseau , Action News Jax


    JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. - Local families were taking their self-defense skills to the next level following recent attacks reported at Jacksonville Beach.

    Tyler Richards, a student in the class, said, “If I was out or something and I seen something go down – I want to be able to protect that person if it was my grandma, or my sister, or someone out and about.”


    In May, Action News Jax reported on the alley near Seawalk Pavilion, where a woman told police she was raped by a man while two others held her down.

    The attack was one of five that Action News Jax has reported within a 4 block stretch of Jacksonville Beach in the past year.

    Ryan Martinez, an instructor at Karate America’s Neptune Beach location, said, “Everybody want to walk around confident knowing that they can go out and be able to defend themselves.”

    Martinez said the studio is offering free self-defense classes for three weeks in response to the recent violence.

    “We do hand-to-hand combat -- if someone is coming to choke you, grab you, hold a knife to your head.”

    According to Martinez, walking alone while texting makes individuals an easy target.

    He said kicks, eye gouges, and kick maneuvers are simple moves that need to be second nature.

    Martinez teaches “how to get out in the safest way possible, or how to neutralize the threat in the safest way possible."

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    Families who participated told Action News Jax they walk away with more than just skills.

    Said Richards: “It’s really important to learn this. It makes you more confident, you get in shape, and you think on your feet more.”

    Karate America is located at 556 Atlantic Boulevard.

    For information on the three weeks of free classes, call 904-241-0100.

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