Woman uses medieval combat training with sword to stop intruder


635800017597300650-dolleyRule No. 1: Don’t break into the home of a woman with medieval combat training.

When a man broke into Karen Dolley’s home on Thursday night, her training in medieval combat came in handy. So did her sword.

The 43-year-old woman said she awoke around midnight to the voice of a man in her house near 10th Street and Emerson Avenue on Indianapolis’ Eastside.

She leapt out of bed, turned on the lights and saw him standing in her living room, she said. Then her instincts kicked in.

Dolley, standing 5-foot-6, said she immediately attacked, punching him about 10 times and cornering him in her bedroom.

She reached for her gun in a nearby drawer, but she accidentally opened the wrong drawer during the chaos of the moment, so her gun wasn’t there.

She reached for her backup weapon, a Japanese-styled sword called ninjato, which she keeps near her bed. Her intruder crouched in the bedroom as she held him at sword-point until police arrived, she said.

She called 911 and police arrived within two minutes, she said.

Police say Jacob Wessel, 30, of Greenwood, was arrested after forcing his way through the house’s backdoor. Wessel, standing at 5-foot-10, was later charged with residential entry, a Level 6 felony.

“I didn’t think I was getting good blows in but my knuckles are bruised today,” said Dolley, 43, on Friday. “Hitting someone like that, it isn’t like the movies. You’re expecting it to be louder and see people jerk around, but that’s not how it happens in real life.”

Dolley actually has some experience in medieval combat fighting from her days as an 18-year-old fighter in the Society for Creative Anachronism, a nonprofit for members who re-create arts and skills from Europe prior to the 17th Century, according to the organization’s website.

Dolley would don armor and engage in unchoreographed fights using rattan swords, which are safer than steel. She fought against men who stood taller than 6 feet and had 20 years experience.

In the beginning, her opponents could guess her moves because she was afraid she was going to hurt someone, she said, so an early lesson was to move confidently and aggressively after someone.

Now Dolley is using those lessons to help in roller derby, where she’s a new recruit known as Foul Morguean with Naptown Roller Girls.

The lessons helped during Thursday’s break-in too, she said.

“I definitely don’t need to work on my aggression, I guess,” Dolley said.

Michael Valenti, who teaches self defense in Indianapolis, commended Dolley for protecting her home, but suggested most people avoid fighting if they can. If confonted at home, Valenti urged to first run away and call police.

“Ultimately, it’s not worth it to risk your life to protect your TV,” said Valenti, head instructor at School of Self Defense, 3535 Kessler Blvd. E. Drive.

If it’s impossible to run, using a gun, knife or stick is a good option for self protection, as long as someone has regular training and practice with those weapons. A good last option is to use everyday objects in your home, like a lamp.

When Dolley called police, she said she was in control of the situation, but there was a brief scare when the intruder reached his hand into a pocket. That’s when Dolley applied more pressure into the sword and told him to stop moving.

“I’m really, really glad I didn’t have to do anything more,” Dolley said. “I know I could do it, but I don’t want to do that.”

Wessel was sent to the hospital because he was high on an unknown substance, according to police reports.

He actually apologized on his way out, Dolley said. Now, Dolley is only upset that the intruder ruined her sleep and angered her cat.

“At the end of the day, I’m glad to know that even if I wake up in the middle of the night, I’m not going down without a fight,” Dolley said.

From: Indy Star

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