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Popular women's self-defense class expands to Soldotna

The self-defense course was offered twice in Homer, including once this fall (above).
Courtesy of Homer Police
The self-defense course was offered twice in Homer, including once this fall (above).

Police forces across the Kenai Peninsula are putting on a five-hour self-defense course for women next month, after an outpouring of interest for a similar course in Homer.

The January course is a collaboration between the Soldotna, Kenai and Homer police departments. Soldotna Police Chief Gene Meek said already, they have a waitlist of women signed up.

“Within a 48 hour period, we had 120 ladies within the region sign up for this course,” he said.

The class in Soldotna will be the third of its kind on the Kenai Peninsula since the summer. The first two were in Homer in June and October, and Homer Lt. Ryan Browning said they were both really popular.

“Particularly for Homer, when [Anesha ‘Duffy’ Murnane] went missing, I think that really altered a lot of people’s perspectives on how safe is safe,” he said.

Browning said he thinks Murnane disappearance opened a lot of eyes about the violence that’s possible even in a small, tight-knit community like Homer. He said the departments are training women in particular since women are often the victims of isolated incidents of violence.

He said part of the class will focus on situational awareness, like not being plugged into a phone in potentially unsafe spaces. They’ll also talk about breaking from an attacker’s grasp and getting up safely when knocked down.

“And then more importantly, we’ll teach them what to do if somebody either attacks you, tries to grab you or punch you, and then what to do if somebody bigger and stronger than you tries to get on top of you and is holding you down,” Browning said.

Browning said they’re also working with female instructors from the Redemption MMA studio in Soldotna.

The departments’ course is Jan. 21 between 2-7p.m. at the All American Training Center in Soldotna. All women 13+ are welcome.

Meek said he’ll make sure there are enough follow-up courses to accommodate every woman who wants to take the course. There are already 50 on the waitlist. To get on the waitlist, contact Sgt. Stace Escott at sescott@soldotna.org.

Sabine Poux is a producer and reporter for the Brave Little State podcast of Vermont Public. She was formerly news director and evening news host at KDLL in Kenai.

Originally from New York, Sabine has lived and reported in Argentina and Vermont and Kenai.