Gym To Offer Free Self-Defense Classes For Women

More than 2-1/2 women in the U-S are victims of violence each year. Many of these attacks are rapes. But, according to the National Center for the Prevention and Control of Rape, 4 out of 5 women who fight their attackers are able to get away unhurt.

World Gym is about to begin offering free classes to help women defend themselves.

"Actually, personal experiences in my life definitely brought me to a point where I decided self empowerment was something I needed to do, and this has been key to doing this in my life," said Rebekah Pillet.

Pillet has been taking karate lessons for a year. Her three-year-old daughter often watches and has taken lessons, too.

"I hope that I'm setting a good example for her. I think that we live in a society nowdays, women and children, especially young girls are often taken advantage of, often treated disrespectfully," Pillet said.

Derek Pruitt is Rebekah and Davery's instructor. He's been training in martial arts for 20 years and teaching for 11 years. He'll be sharing his expertise in self defense with women at World Gym this week.

"What we try to do first is teach them how to not get into situations, and if they need to be, to defend themselves. We teach them how to get out," Pruitt said.

During the one hour class, Pruitt will be teaching basic martial arts self defense moves to women of all ages.

"We're also calling it like a mommy and me class because we want our mothers to bring their daughters, ages ten years and up, so that way it can be a family affair, too," Pruitt said.

Pruitt can't stress enough how important it is for women to be able to physically defend themselves. It's a message Rebekah Pillet would also like to pass on.

"It's huge. I really can't put into words how important it is as a woman and as a mother to know that I cannot only take care of myself, but I can take care of my daughter, too," Pillet said.

The classes will be offered this week at World Gym in Biloxi and Ocean Springs. The first class will be Monday at the Biloxi branch of the gym beginning at 7:30 p.m. The Ocean Springs gym will hold the one hour class on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

The classes are free and open to women and young ladies, whether they're members of the gym or not. World Gym plans to begin offering the self-defense courses at least once a month.