Go For The Eyes: A Self-Defense Lesson At Jade & Clover.

Jade & Clover Hosted A Self-Defense Class To Show People How To Deal With Would-Be Assailants Amid Growing Concerns About Safety In Deep Ellum.

Deep Ellum’s Jade & Clover has become known around the neighborhood for a generous calendar of cleverly-conceived and well-attended events. Whether it’s “Namastay and have a beer” yoga classes, Bey vs. Missy Elliot dance-off fitness classes, sewing classes or Blue Crush movie screenings, there are always a few reasons to stop by the store when you’re in the neighborhood.

And the chic boutique stuck to its routine Tuesday night when it hosted a self-defense class taught by Dallas’ own Guardian Angels chapter amid growing concerns about safety in Deep Ellum.

About 30 people showed up to get their sweat on with a few moves that might help get them out of trouble, most of which boil down to two simple points: run, and if you can’t run, get ‘em in the eyes, then run. Seriously.

One attendee wondered why it wouldn’t be just as effective to kick an attacker in the nuts and the response to that query was quite forward-thinking: if your attacker (with or without nuts) is on PCP or some other kind of pain-obliterating madness, kicking them in the nuts may not do the job. But even if the assailant can’t feel the pain, when you claw/scratch/punch their eyeballs, they’re not going to be able to see you very well to chase you down.

The crowd of mostly women included a couple of mother-daughter pairings, some sorority sisters, some twin sisters, and even a few couples on a date. A couple of dudebros seemed unable to resist showing the instructors, all of whom were said to hold high-degree belts in their respective martial arts, their best moves. But mostly there were lots of nervous smiles and laughs from strangers learning how to defend themselves.

The group moved through a small series of moves under the guidance of the Angels’ Katie and James. Each move sort of building on the previous, and certainly reinforcing the whole “Go for the eyes” thing. An Angels member named Michael suited up in head-to-toe red pads for contact drills, and still managed to get poked in the eye a couple of times. Everyone, including Michael, cheered his temporarily hampered vision as proof-positive of the core principal.

And even though the event was a positive step for self-defense, it was clear that there’s an ongoing tension between The Guardian Angels and Dallas Police — particularly with the off-duty officers hired to patrol Deep Ellum  on the weekends.

But it was clear that these folk in their red windbreakers, many of whom say they patrol the outskirts of Deep Ellum once or twice a month, recognize the value of everyone playing on the same team. No mention was made of the arrest, release and ticketing of the group’s legendary founder Curtis Sliwa that very morning for blocking the exit of Gracie Mansion (the NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio’s official residence) that very morning in an attempt to serve papers regarding lawsuit over local ballot controversies. The Angels were all business.

Jade & Clover’s proprietor Giselle Ruggeberg, when asked what gave her the idea to host the class, and whether it was related the perceived uptick in incidents in the neighborhood, demurred. “Not really. They just called and asked and I pretty much said ‘Sure!’ the way I do for a lot of stuff.” And while the group turned out to be too big (and eventually a little to eye-clawing) for the inside of the store, the fenced-in area outside served just fine to accommodate the successful class. The next one will probably fit fine there too.

All photos by Allay Hayslip


No more articles