After video shows women fighting off attacker, Upstate self defense expert gives advice on defending yourself

Published: Feb. 17, 2023 at 10:31 PM EST
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - A Florida woman is making headlines after fighting off a man who attacked her inside her apartment complex gym last month. The whole thing was caught on surveillance video. After a struggle the woman was able to break free and run away.

That suspect has been arrested but the video has sparked a new conversation about the importance of self defense. We spoke with a local self defense expert about what went wrong, what went right and how we can defend ourselves in situations like this.

Joe Beckham is the owner of Beckham Martial Arts and Fitness in Greenville. For decades he’s been teaching men, women and children the art of street self defense.

“I have been attacked, but I was the one that went home that night and not to the hospital” said Beckham.

We showed Beckham the video—a woman fighting off her attacker.

“No matter what, don’t quit. There’s only two conditions when you can’t fight back, if you’re unconscious, or if you’re dead” he said.

In exchange he showed us a few tips.

“We’ve got to be more alert. Alertness is the key to effective self-defense” said Beckham.

“We are a lot tougher than we look, even though we may be biologically smaller than the males,” said Ashli May. Beckham’s trained May since she was 9 years old, now she’s a black belt.

“I think that I have a good fighting chance. Nothing’s ever 100% guaranteed, but at least I know that I’m gonna fight back and if I don’t come out then he’s not gonna come out of it either,” said May about the skills she’s learned.

Beckham believes self defense is necessary-- especially for women.

“You just about have to have that weapon in your hand when the attacker comes at you and if you can’t get to it, what good is it then? You have your hands, your elbows, your knees, your feet and your mind with you all the time” he said.

Beckham says truly learning self defense takes repetition, and months of training. If you’re interested, visit his website for more information on the classes he offers.