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'We're Here To Support Women': Community Group Offers Free Self-Defense Classes In North Minneapolis

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A rise in crime across Minneapolis has created an effort to give women the necessary skills to protect and defend themselves.

The Strength Group, a nonprofit focused on community safety, is offering free classes in north Minneapolis.

Sensei Gina Wood leads the training she hopes will help women defend themselves, replacing the fear they might feel with confidence.

"The women I talked to are feeling there is more trouble around them," she said.

Each participant has their own reason for taking Wood's class.

"With everything going on right now, you just never know what's going to happen, so I feel safety is of huge importance...just being able to protect myself and my children," Phothala Chanthavysouk said.

She wants to make sure she stays one step ahead of perpetrators who prey on women.

"My biggest fear is the unexpected crime...so anything can happen at any moment," Chanthavysouk said.

"We're here to support the women, we're here to support the community, so it's all about us working together," said Jovan Northington.

Northington says he hopes this training gives women more confidence when walking, riding the bus or moving around the community.

On on recent night, the women did scenarios and techniques designed to help them mentally prepare and physically react to danger.

"How do you use this joint to make the most power, how do you kick someone in the shin so hard that they can't chase you," Wood said.

Lessons this sensei hopes gives women the skills they need to feel safe in their community.

The Strength Group is offering the free self-defense classes Thursday nights at 7 p.m. They're inside the old workforce building on North Plymouth Avenue.

For more information, click here.

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