A recent triple stabbing in Fresno’s Tower District has put some residents on edge.
25-year old Michael Crockell is accused of using a knife to kill one woman, injure another woman and hurt a Fresno police officer. Crockell was doing time in prison for a domestic violence charge, but in March, he was released early due to overcrowding.
As a way of fighting back, a local self-defense instructor invited women to take part in a free class on Sunday where he taught them some basic moves to fend off an attacker. The response was overwhelming as close to 100 women signed up.
“I think it's all men’s' duty and privilege to protect women,” said Art Hugues, owner of Missing Link MMA.
Hugues is a 4th degree black belt who teaches a Hawaiian self-defense system called Kajukenbo.
The 45-year old grew up in the Tower District, so Monday morning's tragedy got Hugues thinking he needed to do something.
“It inspired me because it made me think more about how most women are not ready for any type of situation on the street,” said Hugues.
On Sunday, Hugues taught three separate courses that were each two hours long. Women learned basic moves and built confidence by utilizing their natural strengths.
“To attack a man's vital points like the eyes, ears, throat, groin. Enough to stun to get away,” said Hugues.
Students had their reflexes tested in uncomfortable situations.
Laura Splotch, who lives in the Tower, signed up.
“Some of my friends have gotten jumped or hurt and I don't want to be one of those people. I've got kids to take care of. I really think it's a great idea what art is doing here,” said Laura Splotch.
This business owner wants to be clear; the only payment he wanted is to see results.
“I'm hoping this will snowball into possibly every school in the community wanting to do this because there's a lot more women in this community than are showing up to my place on Sunday,” said Hugues.
Hugues says if more people would like to take these classes, he will add more seminars next Saturday and Sunday, September 22 & 23.
To contact him, call or text (559) 213-6591. You can also visit Missing Link MMA located at 898 N. Fulton in Fresno.