Free self-defense classes in Radford aim to build up women and combat domestic violence

Classes start at 2 p.m. every Saturday at the Radford Rec Center

RADFORD, Va. – One in four women in the U.S have faced domestic violence, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

But a self-defense class in Radford designed for women aims to change that.

Hands up and feet staggered, women, young and old, can learn how to defend themselves for free.

Since 1997, David Trail, a former Radford Police detective, has taught self-defense classes for women.

“At the time, I was working for the Radford Police Department. There were some events occurring off-campus and locals in general concerning sexual assault,” he said. “So I looked around in the area and I couldn’t find anything specific for women. So I thought, ‘Let’s try this.’”

Three years ago, the Radford Rec Center opened its doors for him to teach classes.

One of the students was Megan McAllister, a survivor of domestic violence.

“I did not want to ever experience that again,” she said. “That’s super important to me. And, I wanted to make sure my 15 year old daughter would never experience it as well.”

McAllister said initially the classes triggered moments of PTSD, but now she stands with confidence and beside Trail as another instructor.

“When you have experienced something so violent and so traumatic, to be able to look at somebody and say, ‘I went through it, I survived it. I can help you. You can do the same thing.’ That’s huge.”

Teaching situational awareness mixed with physical combat, the instructors take time to work with each student one on one.

If you want to try out a class, they start at 2 p.m. every Saturday at the Radford Rec Center.

The instructors also host sessions at the Newport Community Center on Fridays.

About the Author

Alexus joined 10 News in October 2020.

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