Interest in self-defense classes surges after Golden Gardens attack

    Interest in self-defense classes has surged after an attack on a woman at Golden Gardens Park in Seattle two weeks ago. (Photo: KOMO News)

    SEATTLE -- Naomi Menahem, a 40-year-old creative director, is getting ready for the fight of her life.

    It's a fight she hopes she will never have.

    She is taking classes at Krav Maga Seattle.

    "I thought it would be a great way to learn some basics to defend myself when I'm being attacked," she said.

    Chau Le, co-owner of Krav Maga Seattle, explains what is being taught.

    "Krav Maga is a self-defense system originally developed for the Israeli military."

    As part of Sexual Assault Prevention Month, Krav Maga Seattle is offering a free women's empowerment and self-defense seminar on April 1.

    "This year, we noticed that within eight hours. 60 spots were filled. I'm going to say that that has to do with the incidents this past weekend."

    Self-defense classes are seeing a surge of interest after a woman named Kelly Herron fought off her attacker in a women's restroom at Golden Gardens Park on March. 5.

    "That really hit home," said Menahem. "I take my kids to the beach all the time. I use that bathroom all the time."

    In fact, Herron took a self-defense class just weeks before she was attacked. Her employer, RealSelf, gave employees a chance to learn self-defense while at work.

    "During the class, Kelly asked a ton of questions. She said, 'I'm a runner. My biggest fear is that while I'm out on a run, I'll get attacked. She was super-thoughtful and very invested and engaged in the class. And none of us could have known three weeks later that could happen to her," said Lauren Sato of RealSelf.

    Sato said RealSelf brought in an instructor from Fighting Chance Seattle and offered the self defense class to employees. As many as 40 women attended. "My main message to companies who are considering doing something like this is not to wait because you just never know when something will happen," said Sato.

    Now RealSelf is teaming up with the same instructors -- Fighting Chance Seattle -- to offer a free seminar to the public on March 28 in Belltown. It will be from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. at Block 41, 115 Bell St.

    At Krav Maga, Menahem said Herron's story and her learning self-defense are lessons for everyone.

    "Its's amazing that it actually saved her life."

    Here are links to free classes:

    Krav Maga Seattle:

    Oom Yung Doe Seattle:

    Fight Back Seattle:

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