Local gym teaches self-defense skills to women of all ages

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — It’s scary to think about getting attacked but knowing how to act fast and protect yourself is important. A local gym wants to help too.

Smart Girl Self-Defense in Albuquerque is hosting monthly classes to help women, who are often victims of attacks, defend themselves.

“We just need to be aware, we need to be alert and have a head on a swivel,” said Heather Winklejohn, Smart Girl’s co-founder.

Smart Girl Self-Defense is a gym specifically for women to learn how to protect themselves. They hold monthly classes teaching women how to defend themselves and be prepared if something happens.

“We do this sometimes, we don’t want to face this person or deal with this person so we turn away – but by doing that and giving him my back, I really made myself vulnerable,” Winklejohn explained to us in a demonstration.

Self-defense isn’t just physical training, either. It’s also mental training too.

“We talk about breaking the freeze because so many of us, it’s very normal, will freeze if someone grabs us, strikes us, throws us down. So we talk about strategies for minimizing the amount of time you spend in a freeze,” Winklejohn said.

If you have to fight, the goal is to react fast and get away as soon as possible.

“By having my hands here, I can get distance and extension. The other nice advantage to having my hands up is, if he decides to strike or throw a punch, I can protect my face a little bit better and a little bit easier,” Winklejohn explained.

Overall, the key to staying safe is to be aware of your surroundings, especially if you’re alone.

“Having your head buried in your phone, not paying attention to where you’re parking, not paying attention to your gut, your instinct when something is letting you know that something doesn’t feel right,” Winklejohn said, regarding what’s important to remember when out alone.

If you’re going to be out and about, make sure people you trust know your whereabouts.

For more info, click here.