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Local women's homeless shelter hosts free self defense classes

WILKES-BARRE (WOLF) -- Women at a Luzerne County emergency homeless shelter got a lesson in self-defense this afternoon.

This is the third year Ruth’s Place has held this free class for women in the community.

Staff at Ruth’s Place say they try to have the class around this time of year because April is Sexual Assault Awareness month – and that its important for women to have access to these kinds of resources to protect themselves.

Jennifer took advantage of some one-on-one sparring practice with Kevin Hollock of Fifth Dimension Martial Arts Saturday afternoon.

She and several other women got a lesson in self-defense from Hollock, his wife, and son today at Ruth’s Place in Wilkes-Barre.

“It felt really good because like – they live here. And it would be good just to teach them,” Hollock’s son Aiden said.

It’s the only emergency shelter for homeless women in Luzerne County.

“We realize that its important for the women in our community to have access to these kinds of classes with no fee. A lot of people are having a hard time making ends meet and they don’t have the money to pay for things like this, so we like to be able to provide it to them,” Ruth’s Place Program Coordinator Crystal Williams said.

This is the third year Fifth Dimension has taught at Ruth’s Place.

The annual classes serve as an introduction to martial arts and self-defense.

“Today we did some basic techniques, if someone was to come at you with a knife. Basic skills of punching, jabbing, kicking, zoning out of the way – out of their view of punching,” Jennifer Hollock said.

Many of the women at Ruth’s Place are survivors of abuse. These classes give them the training to fall back on if they find themselves in another bad situation.

“I think it just boosts their confidence a little bit that if something like this happens, they’re a little more prepared. They won’t be as startled and unaware that they have some tips in their mind of what they should do, ways to stand, ways to protect themselves,” Williams said.

And the women say they’re grateful.

“These people here really helped me a lot, like I thank you for them to come in and teach me a lot. Now I’m willing to do what I have to do now, so if somebody hit me or do something, I know what to do now,” Tishonah C., who lives at Ruth’s Place, said.

“I have had to apply it to some real life scenarios before and I didn’t enjoy it so I hope that I don’t have to ever again, but if it comes down to it, I know that I’ll know what to do,” Jennifer, who lives at Ruth’s Place, said.

Those classes are also open to the public.

Ruth’s Place relies on donations to keep them going each year. More information can be found on its Facebook page.


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