5 ON YOUR SIDE: Should you fight back?

Self defense questions arise after Clive attack

CLIVE - A young woman who was attacked on a popular bike trail in Clive fought back and got away. But did she do the right thing?


The assault happened along the Greenbelt Trail in Clive Tuesday afternoon. Police say the attacker tried to pull the 18-year-old woman into a wooded area. He even pointed a BB gun at her. She fought back and was able to get away.


But is fighting back the right thing to do? And if it is, what the best way to get away? Local 5 is On Your Side, asking what can you do to protect yourself.


Experts say the best thing to do is get away from the attacker if you can. But if you absolutely need to fight back, there are certain things you can do that just might save your life.


People who use the Greenbelt Trail in Clive have safety on their mind following Tuesday's attack. Police say the young woman forced the gun out of the man's hand, something most people Local 5 spoke to would do.


"If they were assaulting me and I could see the gun, I probably would try to go for it, I know it's probably a scary move," said West Des Moines resident Devon Gurnett, who uses the Greenbelt Trail.


Self defense expert Matt White, who is the owner and lead instructor of Triumph Martial Arts in Clive, says that is the right thing to do. He says if the weapon is close enough to you, disarming your attacker is the best option.


Police say the attacker tried to get the young woman off the trail, but she stayed put and screamed to get attention - which experts say is the best thing to do.


"The main thing is she was confronted and asked to leave the scene and she refused," White said. "That's probably the biggest thing that if you're in a public arena, something asks you to leave if you stay there you have a better chance of surviving."


If someone grabs you from behind, the best way to protect yourself is to drop low and start jabbing at their face so they lose their grip. If they grab your arm don't just pull away.


"You're fighting against my entire grip strength at this point, and I can be stronger than you, but this way it's just your hand against my thumb, and you can get free," White said.


Clive Police say they do random patrols on the trail and there are security measures in place.


"Normal users of the trail probably would have seen our uniformed officers out of bicycle and on our ATV, and in response to this incident, we'll be increasing those patrols for the foreseeable future,” said Clive Police Chief Michael Venema.


Extra cops or not, White says always being prepared and confident is key.


"Telling yourself I'm not going to be a victim and fighting back is probably the biggest piece, then having the skills to back it up is the next part of that,” White said.


White says being prepared starts with taking self defense classes. There are a few places you can do this around the metro. The West Des Moines Police Department, for example, offers a self defense training course.


If you want to pay for a class, there are other choices in the area as well. Some of those other locations are as follows:


Triumph Martial Arts: Clive

2023 NW 92nd Ct., Suite A

(866) 648-8480



Self Defense School

2500 Fleur Dr

(515) 202-5287

Two Rivers Martial Arts


Self Defense School

2017 Southlawn Dr

(515) 285-5049

Two Rivers Martial Arts


Martial Arts School

West Des Moines United Methodist Church, 720 Grand Ave

(515) 285-5049


Two Rivers Martial Arts


Dojo's Family Martial Arts

1810 SW White Birch Circle, Suite 100

(515) 963-9989


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