HOMEWOOD, AL (WBRC) - Karen Mitchell is a master at self-defense now, but she wasn't back in her 20s.
"I had been the victim of a violent crime and this person had come into my home and kidnapped me," she said.
Traumatized afterwards, Mitchell's family suggested she take martial arts classes. Now she teaches young women what she knows.
One of her biggest tips is to do all you can to prevent yourself from being a victim.
"Just be aware of your surroundings," she says. "When you're coming in, lock that door behind you. When you're going out, take a look around in the neighborhood, take a look around in the parking lot."
Her classes also include physical techniques, including how to react if someone is choking you. She covers those steps in a self-defense class for teen girls.
"My friend told me about it and she got me into it, but I've always kind of wanted to know some about self-defense," said 14-year-old Cady Champney, who attended last year.
Champney says the class was fun and got her to start thinking just a little bit more about her surroundings when she's out with friends. She's going back for the class again this year, excited to learn more. She urges other girls to join her.
"Most of the time it doesn't happen, but you never know so it's always good to at least be prepared," she says.
The class is for girls in 6th through 12th grade. It will be offered this Saturday at the Homewood Library from 10-11:30 a.m.
You can register by going to the library's website. The class is free to attend.