Women learn self defense through Global Tactical Training Group - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Victims learn self defense through Global Tactical Training Group

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Never say it won't happen to you. They stalk and prey on the most vulnerable.

"A man walked up to me, and just started small talk, normal small talk," remembered Amy Pearson, "and something about it made me afraid."

They strike with little to no warning, leaving victims surprised and most times unprepared.

"I opened the door to get in the car and get away from him, and pushed me in the car and tried to rape me," Pearson said.

They are criminals, and they usually target women.

Pearson was attacked when she was just 25 years old. It happened in broad daylight at a popular car wash.

"He pushed me back and was choking me," Pearson said. "I almost lost consciousness but something scared him away."

Pearson escaped more determined than ever not to become a victim again. She became one of three women learning to defend themselves through the Global Tactical Training Groups, or GTAC, the first all women's self defense class.

"I do walk around downtown quite a lot, so it would be nice to have that knowledge," explained class participant Victoria Logue.

She too has run into some unsavory characters.

"When I was in Forsyth Park, a guy who was clearly not sane approached me, talking very loudly, asking me questions," Logue said. "I was running at the time so I basically yelled a question over my shoulder and kept on running."

And avoided a potentially dangerous situation. Amy Thurman says that's half the battle.

"It's noticing when something is out of place. It's noticing what direction a potential threat might come from. It's noticing areas that could be dangerous," she explained.

Thurman is the instructor of the women's GTAC course. It's a program she helped design along with GTAC Executive Director Gary Glemboski. The course includes mental preparation and self defense maneuvers like learning how strike your attacker in the face or hand.

"Palm up. Just strike me in the face," Glemboski demonstrated to Thurman.

They also show women how to get out of a hold in case someone grabs them from behind.

"Just trap their hands down in front of you, then head but them and stomp the attacker's foot. Then, try to pull out," Glemboski explained.

GTAC also shows women the most vulnerable places on an attackers body, like the forearm or the side of the neck.

"In the real world, you're only going to get one chance," said Glemboski. "You're not going to get a bunch of chances, and you're not going to get a do over."

Instructors say women need to see when and where they're most vulnerable for an attack, and make a plan.

"Like leaving work at night in the dark, or going to work in the morning when it's still dark," Thurman explained.

But even the best laid plans can fail. Think you want to buy a gun? Or maybe pepper spray? GTAC also walks women through a variety of lethal and non lethal options. 

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