To combat sexual assault, Southwest Austin resident teaches course based on female anatomy, psychology

Jeremy Wagle and daughter Taylor teach women in Austin techniques to prevent becoming victims of sexual assault.

Jeremy Wagle and daughter Taylor teach women in Austin techniques to prevent becoming victims of sexual assault.

Four years ago, Jeremy Wagle received word his teenage daughter had been molested. In that moment he decided to put his career on hold and create a course to help women prevent becoming victims of sexual assault.

"After the initial rage and sadness subsided, I was given a vision of clarity," he said. "I set myself on a mission, which was to create a female program that was just for females, and the goal to make sure no father ever had to get the phone call I did or worse."

Evolution, science and psychology

Wagle called on his experience as a former Marine, cage fighter, boxer and 23-year veteran of martial arts to create his program, known simply as the Female Assault Prevention Course. Rooted in the concepts of evolution, science and psychology, Wagle researched and identified the anatomical and psychological differences between males and females to teach women how to defeat an attacker through a series of physical techniques.

"I wanted to design a course that was the real deal and gave women a chance to defeat that kind of evil," Wagle said. "Not escape it, but defeat it, and I'm big on the difference."

The female center of gravity is located in her pelvis, which is lower than the male's, which is found in his chest, Wagle said. This difference helped him customize the movements in the course to give females an advantage.

"Once I understood that [difference] I designed all of the courses to take a man's center of gravity and force it to comply with the female's," he said. "Once a guy bends at the waist, he loses about 50 percent of his strength."

A background in human behaviors and sociology and a long career in business-to-business sales led Wagle to realize that in order to teach a course that was effective for women, it was essential he understood the female psyche.

"The No. 1 reason women don't succeed in women's self defense courses is confidence," he said. "It is my belief that most females caught in a dramatic situation only need the confidence to know they can overcome it."

Wagle also researched the brain's reaction to trauma and spoke to victims of sexual assault to understand first-hand how the experience effected their lives.

"I did a lot of self recovery and I talked to a lot of victims who had been attacked, raped, or involved in domestic violence to find out what it was like from them, and then I developed everything around that," he said.

According to the Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, nearly 44 percent of Texas women have been sexually assaulted. Sexual assault costs the state an estimated $8 billion per year in medical expenses, lost work productivity and mental health care.

Wagle's techniques

The most crucial technique in Wagle's repertoire is the "step and squat," which is the first position he instructs women to assume in an attack situation. This allows a female to utilize her low center of gravity to root herself into the ground. Then, Wagle teaches several methods to dislodge an attacker's grip by attempting to break a finger.

"Break a finger and that will change the outcome of everything," he said. "It's the easiest thing to do no matter what size you are or how much strength you have."

Once separated, Wagle teaches women to locate a "hot zone strike area" on her attacker, or areas of the body which house clusters of nerves and are ultra-sensitive to pain. Hot zone 1 is from head to shoulders, hot zone 2 is from shoulder to shoulder, and hot zone three is from shoulder to fingertip. The most effective is hot zone 1, so Wagle said to strike this area first.

"If you hit [a hot zone] area, it’s like a Cracker Jack box, you never know what you're going to get but you're going to get something," he said. "That’s what I wanted to do to guarantee a result."

Women talking or texting on their cell phones are often targeted by predators, so Wagle teaches how to use a cell phone as a weapon to escape an attacker.

"[A cell phone] is not necessary [for protection], but it's something almost everybody has on them today," he said.

Each person enrolled in the course also receives a wooden TAP, or a tactical assault prevention tool, that hangs from a bracelet. Handcrafted by Wagel, he said he was inspired to design the tool following an incident while working as a bodyguard where he was forced to fend off three attackers using only a lighter.

"The bracelet puts it at the ready at all time," he said. "Even if it doesn't get used, it creates confidence."

Taking the course

Over the past year, Wagle has taught the Female Assault Prevention Course to 100 women in the Southwest Austin area. Held twice a month at Tanglewood Park off Slaughter Lane, women ages 8 to 99 are encouraged to participate. The course includes a fee of $20, which covers the cost of the TAP. However, if a participant does not feel she has gained anything, Wagle offers a full money-back guarantee.

With the eventual goal of providing a free sexual assault prevention course to the women of Austin, Wagle said he is willing to put everything aside to travel anywhere in the city to teach the course.

"The whole purpose of this is to give women the power to look evil in the eye and defeat it," he said. "To teach a woman that she doesn't have to rely on anybody but herself is awesome."

Wagle's daughter Taylor, 17, and son Zander Cole Dentis, 8, act as his assistants, which Wagle said strengthens his purpose.

"To have my kids participate in this, I can't even tell you what that means to me," he said. "We are going to change the face of our community one way or another."

For more information on the female assault prevention course and how to sign up, contact Jeremy Wagle at 512-760-4741 or [email protected]
By Olivia Lueckemeyer
Olivia Lueckemeyer graduated in 2013 from Loyola University New Orleans with a degree in journalism. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in October 2016 as reporter for the Southwest Austin edition before her promotion to editor in March 2017. In July 2018 she returned home to the Dallas area and became editor of the Richardson edition.