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More than 30 young female runners took advantage of a fast-paced, three-hour self-defense class, sponsored by the Coppell Taekwondo America school located next to J. Macklin’s Grill on Denton Tap Road. Owner and chief instructor Kevin Nevels jumped at the opportunity to help.

Having grown up in Coppell and graduated from Coppell High School in 2001, Mr. Nevels commented on the chance to give back to his hometown, “I have helped teach this self-defense class since 2003 at various sites and to women of all ages.  I am absolutely thrilled to be able to help the young ladies in my own community learn techniques and skills to keep themselves safe.”

Nevels brought in a federal SWAT officer and an off-duty Coppell policeman to augment instruction.  Martial arts instructors and blackbelt students from different Taekwondo America schools around the region also donated their time to this class, which has been taught to ladies from 18 different countries as a community service.

The runners mixed lectures focusing on awareness and prevention with actual self-defense techniques and escapes.  The cross country girls, who run hundreds of miles throughout the year on the streets of Coppell, learned the value of running in groups and about many of the safe havens throughout the city. 

“A lot of what we tell our girls suddenly sinks in when it is taught in this of type of environment”, commented one parent.

While the information presented was valuable and serious, the students had much more fun kicking, elbowing and punching the targets and occasionally, the instructors! 

“In teaching taekwondo and these self-defense classes, I’ve come to learn that most females really enjoy getting the chance to land a good punch or two on me,” Mr. Nevels joked, “but in all seriousness, if me taking a few elbows in the ribs teaches these girls how to stay safe, then the bruises are absolutely worth it.”

For more information on the Coppell Taekwondo America program, or to inquire about a self-defense class for your group or neighborhood association, please email Mr. Nevels at or call at 972-393-2999.

For information and 2013 sponsorship opportunities for the Coppell Cross Country team, please see