Duo shares importance of women learning self-defense

SAN ANTONIO – With the holiday shopping season in full swing, it's a good time to think about personal safety.

Frazzled, distracted shoppers can easily become a target. If you were suddenly the target of an attacker, would you know how to react? If you've had any training, would you remember what to do?

A self-defense duo has made it their mission to teach the moves they say every woman needs to know.

For the past six years, Tracy and Charley Vega have been in front of countless audiences.

"We call ourselves the 'Sonny and Cher' of self-defense," Charley said. "(Tracy) can't sing and I'm a lot taller, but women get a kick out of it. Women get it, they like it."

The approach may be lighthearted but the subject matter is not. As many as 238,000 people over the age of 12 are sexually assaulted every year.

Tracy and Charley developed a program that is easy to learn and remember. They said the single most important move is the one-finger fight. It's used when someone grabs another person by the arm.

"It's the most common way that somebody's grabbed," they said.

Instead of pulling away, the Vegas instruct women to move their arm in the direction of the attacker's thumb, which automatically breaks the assaulter's grip.

Bissy Holden took the Vegas' self-defense class three years ago. Not only can she still remember the move, she convinced her employer to offer the workshop to colleagues.

"(There's) about 150 (employees), and if they paid it forward, 300," Holden said.

The Vegas also said if an attacker approaches from behind, try something they call the peel.

"Instead of fighting, the way to escape is you grab a single finger and you peel the finger off of that person and the finger is going to break," they said.

"We can't get to everybody, but if we show you and you show somebody else and they show somebody else, then we have a chance to really save lives on a massive scale," the Vegas said.