Womens Self Defense Classes See Increased Enrollment

The owner of a martial arts training studio in southwest Iowa says he’s seeing renewed interest from women who want to learn how to defend themselves following Mollie Tibbetts’ murder. Jim Sutton, who runs Kung Fu Damsels in Council Bluffs, says many women rely on familiar stand-bys like pepper spray, stun guns and even metal key chains, all of which can be effective.

Investigators believe the 20-year-old Tibbetts, a University of Iowa student, was attacked and killed while jogging last month near her hometown of Brooklyn, Iowa. A suspect was arrested this week who reportedly says he followed Tibbetts in his car, parked and got out, ran along side the young woman and confronted her. He later led authorities to Tibbetts’ body in a Poweshiek County cornfield. Sutton says there are multiple legal options women — and men — may chose to use in self-defense.

Using those tools gives you time to make a safe escape and Sutton says that should be your ultimate goal. He spouts phrases like: “Stun and run,” “shock and rock” and “hit and get.”

Sutton preaches to always be aware of your surroundings, and for runners especially, always run with one earbud out so you can hear if traffic or trouble may be approaching. He also suggests using the buddy system as there is strength in numbers.