FORT WORTH - They are words and actions most of them have never used before.
"No! Stop," women are yelling at the top of their lungs, as they use their arms to strike punching pads or try to break free from someone's grip.
But these Tarrant County women understand, with violent crimes on the rise, they are scenarios they may encounter, and they want to be ready. Fort Worth Police recently confirmed that homicides, robberies and assaults are all up from last year.
"Something like this, I can signal to my own body 'Hey, I'm in control here,'" says participant Heidi Slansky.
Inside the Shoot Smart shooting range off I-35 in north Fort Worth, Stacey Mitry, a former FBI sniper and defensive tactics instructor, is teaching women how to protect themselves when they're unarmed.
"You do have power, you do have choices," says Mitry, who is a mother of two. "Even though a lot of people in Texas are armed, we can't always get to our firearm, we don't always carry it with us."
What we do have, Mitry points out, are hands, arms, legs, feet, intuition and a voice; so she's teaching women how to use them all. She has been teaching classes like these for 10 years, but only recently started in Fort Worth.
56-year-old Cecilia Hult was practicing these skills with her husband Wednesday. After being approached by a strange man in a parking lot in the past, she wants to be ready.
"I actually throw the punch more than I thought I would. I'm not as girly as I thought—I figured I'd be kind of wimpy. But once you start focusing," she says, it all falls into place.
"If you're chosen as a victim, it doesn't mean you have to be victimized," Mitry says.
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