Women's self-defense 1

Gabrielle Jansen / The Outlook April Drake , left, readies to defend herself during a drill at the women's self defense class Saturday

Alexander City resident April Drake avoids certain places at night to protect herself but she and about 14 other women learned self-defense skills Saturday.

To be better prepared if something unthinkable happens, Drake and her daughter Madison Moncrief, 16, took part in their first women’s self-defense course at United Martial Arts Academy on Saturday

“(Moncrief’s) getting older now and it’s getting more real she’s going to be on her own,” Drake said. 

Moncrief hasn’t needed to use self-defense before but also worried about going to places at night due to local teen hangout spots being secluded.

“The movie theater is at one spot by itself and the bowling alley is at one spot by itself,” Moncrief said. “Nothing is together really so you’re (not) around a lot of people.”

Owner Russell Wright taught the women self-defense moves, how to not look like a target and how to be aware of their surroundings. 

“The biggest thing you can take away is how to position yourself,” Wright said.

Russell said to read others’ profiles and address suspicious people with a neutral tone, such as asking a person what he or she needs if he or she is staring. Women letting someone touch them and not responding can make them soft targets.

Those feeling targeted should change their posture and be direct to put suspicious people on the spot. Women should also look at a person’s hands to see what they are holding. 

“You wanting it to not be (a situation) does not make it so,” Wright said. “No one should be able to put their hands on you or touch you. If they don’t respect that boundary, you have to assume they have bad intent for you.

“Everyone should have some kind of general understanding of public etiquette. I don’t need to touch you, move you or get inside your circle.”

Wright said if the women have to fight they should do so in hopes of preventing being taken to a secondary location where they’re less likely to survive. 

“If you got to deal with it, deal with it now,” Wright said.

Some self-defense techniques include women shielding themselves by putting their hands on their foreheads so they can see, grabbing and hitting the back of the assaulter’s head and pushing the assailant with both hands against his or her shoulders. Pinching causes a sharp pain and disrupts the nervous system also works, according to Wright.

The academy is holding a second women’s self-defense class at 9 a.m. Saturday. Interested women should contact Wright at 256-329-9199