HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Women around the Pine Belt participated in a free self-defense class on Saturday.
The Martial Arts House in Hattiesburg hosted a class for women to learn the importance of situational awareness, how to develop an exit strategy and several self-defense moves.
Instructor James Rothery said that women are targeted more because of their emotional responses to stressful situations.
According to Rothery, the best defense to being targeted is to be aware of your surroundings and having the mental preparedness to deal with a dangerous situation.
"The best thing that you could ever do is pay attention. Everything you do is about paying attention to what is going on in the room and where the exits are," Rothery said.
According to Rothery, it is not likely that every woman will be attacked but the odds are scary enough that it might happen.
"If you're mentally prepared and you avoid situations that could put you in [danger] then it may never happen to you," Rothery said.
Rothery said that is better to be safe than victimized.
"It is better to never have to fight somebody and know how to defend yourself then to be attacked and not know what to do," Rothery said.
"Some people will never recover from being victimized. Some people will come out of it stronger because they can say 'I fought and that's why I didn't get taken down,'" Rothery said.
According to Rothery, the women with the self-confidence to protect themselves are the women that can keep someone from taking advantage of them.
"If I can teach a handful of women how to protect themselves just enough to where they might get away then that's a win," Rothery said.
The Martial Arts House is located at 201 S Fortieth Ave. For more information please call James Rothery at (228)217-5429.