Protecting Yourself Against an Attacker

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RENO, NV -- The hunt continues for a rapist who brutally attacked a woman who was jogging in a quiet south Reno neighborhood. There is a real fear if he's not caught soon, he could strike again and it has women across our community on edge. Experts say there are easy moves to protect yourself in these situations.

Some self-defense moves are designed to be easy to learn and can be used by anyone, no matter what type of shape you are in or your physical strength.

Many of us leave our homes without thinking about getting attacked; you run out the door with the earbuds in and go exercise on a routine path, but what happens when you are caught off guard and someone approaches from behind?

"Predators only search for prey, not other predators," Pierce Toomey, owner of The Academy of Martial Arts, said. "If you look like prey you are going to increase the likelihood of getting attack."

The key is to look confident; keep your head up and constantly look around while you run.

"If you look like someone who's going to put up a fight, you're probably not going to get attacked because it's not easy and predators are not going to risk attacking someone who is going to fight back," he said.

The victim in South Meadows was attacked from behind, and may have been caught off guard because she was wearing earbuds.

"You want to take those out or turn it down a lot because if you can't hear someone approaching you, you're not going to be able to defend against something you don't know is happening."

It's also important to remember you don't have to be strong or a martial arts expert to defend yourself from an attack.

"A well-placed strike to a vulnerable target like the nose, the eye or the groin, or the throat, those affect everybody the same way."

If you are concerned about safety, try applying some common sense. Danger looms in dark areas, even in established neighborhoods. Running in a group is always safer than running alone and avoid establishing a pattern; change up your routine.

"Even if you get comfortable in an area, especially in a neighborhood. If you get comfortable with it, people will also get comfortable with it."

Most predators use intimidation to catch their pray and they can lurk around anywhere.

"Violence falls on everybody. Nobody is immune to it and it doesn't matter if you live in the wealthiest of areas or poorest neighborhood; it doesn't matter."

Pierce also says the strongest point on your body is the elbow,

He also advises against using pepper spray or a weapon, unless you are trained and understand how to use them properly; otherwise, they can become hazards instead of protection.

Any woman that comes into The Academy of Martial Arts or calls and mentions KOLO 8 News Now can get a free 30 minute class on basic self defense for free.

If you'd like to take some classes or learn more about self-defense, visit The Academy of Martial Art's website.