David Downing, left and Chuck Gary.


In the wake of the recent rash of violet attacks in the gayborhood, Chuck Gary and David Downing return to the Round-Up Saloon on Jan. 17 to once again offer a workshop in self-defense.

Gary, a Tae Kwon Do instructor at Oak Lawn Boxing Gym, and Downing, who learned martial arts from his aunt to defend himself in high school, taught a similar workshop at the Cedar Springs nightclub last November.

“Since the start of the attacks here at Oak Lawn, it’s very important that everyone comes up to speed on what they can do to protect themselves,” Gary said, referring to the 14 assaults that have occurred in Oak Lawn since the first of September. The latest attack, which occurred in December, happened in the Round-Up’s parking lot.

The workshop will include elements of Tae Kwon Do, boxing and Krav Maga, a form of self-defense developed for and used by Israeli special forces, Gary said. He and Downing will spend about half the workshop talking about how to avoid being attacked in the first place, and the other half teaching attendees how to defend themselves if they are attacked.

“Awareness is the key factor,” Gary said. “What do you do the minute you walk out of that bar? You observe, see who’s there. Look for places of possible ambush and avoid that. The one attack you will always win is the one you don’t have.”

He also said there are simple things that can be done to ward off attackers: “Some of the simple things put people in awe. You never think of some of the moves you can do that are so simple.”

The workshop will include instruction on maneuvers to disarm an attacker. “If they are going to shoot you, then you’ve got nothing to lose by attacking them,” Gary said. “And there are techniques to get the gun away from them and shoot them.”

But it’s not cowardly to run away from an attack, Downing noted.

“If you’re in a situation where you don’t feel you have a choice, you have three to five seconds to do something or you’re the one who’s going to be in trouble,” he said. “If you ever make it to the ground in a fight, you’re in big trouble.”

Although Gary is a bodybuilder who once weighed 245 pounds, he said anyone can learn to defend themselves. “Age and size mean nothing,” he noted. “It’s your skill” that counts.

And, Downing warned, never underestimate smaller people.

“I got my ass kicked once by somebody who was 5-foot-6 and 110 pounds,” he said.

Chuck Gary and David Downing lead a workshop on self-defense on Sunday, Jan. 17, from noon-1 p.m., at The Round-Up Saloon, 3912 Cedar Springs Road.

— Mathew Shaw

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 8, 2016.