A Hastings schoolgirl says her martial arts training gave her the confidence to foil a daylight attacker, by elbowing him in the groin and punching him in the face.
The girl said she had suffered a “confidence knock” since a man attempted to molest her on a Hastings street last month, although “it could have been a lot worse”.
“I was a bit shaken up. I lost my confidence a lot walking around town.
“I still haven’t walked home from school alone.”
The incident happened when a man approached her on a bicycle as she walked home from a job interview on Caroline Rd, about 4.30pm on October 29.
“I heard someone biking behind me. I thought he would pass me, but he rode beside me and started saying really rude and inappropriate things.”
The man got off his bicycle and walked it along the footpath beside the girl. When she started to head across the road in a bid to avoid him, he grabbed her.
“I went to cross the road and he pulled me off the road and tried to force me into the bushes.”
But the girl immediately struck the man twice.
“I elbowed him in the nuts and punched him in the face. He swore and stumbled back and I ran home as fast as I could.”
She said it was her training in Brazilian jiu jitsu, a effective martial art that focuses on Self Defense, which had given her the confidence to lash out at her attacker.
She said she would “definitely” recommend other girls train at martial arts.
“It gives you the confidence to defend yourself if the time ever comes. It doesn’t hurt to know how to protect yourself because you never know what might happen or the capability of some people. Jiu jitsu gave me the confidence and ability to do what I needed to do in order to keep myself safe.”
Police are still looking for the man, who is thought to be 20 to 30 years old and of medium height and build. He was wearing an “oversized” black hoody during the incident.
Police Detective Jeff Foley praised the girl’s defensive capabilities.
“This is a great example of how young people, especially females, should be aware of personal safety and know what to do if they are approached or attacked.
“This could have turned nasty, but the girl was able to take this man by surprise and essentially stopped the attack from progressing.”
In a separate incident at the weekend, in Cornwall Park, a 9-year-old boy fled from a man who is believed to have made him fear for his safety.
Police said the boy was walking his dog in the Chinese Gardens at the Hastings park on Sunday afternoon when the man approached him, causing him to run home.