‘We’re here to support the women’: Community group offers free self-defense classes in North Minneapolis – WCCO

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

The Strength Group, a nonprofit focused on community safety, offers free classes in North Minneapolis.

Sensei Gina Wood is leading the training which she hopes will help women stand up for themselves, replacing any fear they might feel with confidence.

“The women I spoke to feel there are more issues around them,” she said.

Each participant has their own reason for taking Wood’s course.

“With everything going on right now, you never know what’s going to happen, so I think safety is of paramount importance…just being able to protect myself and my children,” said Phothala Chanthavysouk .

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

“My biggest fear is unexpected crime… so anything can happen at any time,” Chanthavysouk said.

“We’re here to support women, we’re here to support the community, so it’s about working together,” said Jovan Northington.

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

Last night, the women performed scenarios and techniques designed to help them prepare mentally and react physically to danger.

“How do you use that joint to get the most out of power, how do you kick someone so hard in the shin they can’t chase you down,” Wood said.

The lessons this sensei hopes will give women the skills they need to feel safe in their community.

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

For more information, click here.

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