Fight Like a Grrrl leads free self defense classes in Charlottesville

Published: Jul. 30, 2022 at 9:27 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Fight Like a Grrrl held a free workshop in Charlottesville, teaching important safety skills and martial arts skills for self-defense.

Olivia Trager attended the July 30 session as her first self-defense workshop.

“I kind of just want to learn how to feel more safe in my own skin. Like if I’m out alone, that’s really important, especially as a young woman,” Trager said. “I think it’s important as I get older, I’m going to college next year. I want to be able to defend myself.”

“If I can’t change other people’s behavior, I know I can change how safe I feel,” Trager said.

Trager wanted to attend the class taught by her old babysitter, one of the co-founders of Fight Like a Grrrl, Sally Rose.

“It’s a really important part of our mission to provide self defense to anybody that feels unsafe, or just wants to be able to walk a little bit taller. I want them to feel a little bit more confident in their skills to defend themselves,” Rose said.

Rose started the club with her co-founder, Josh Copson, after noticing an interest in the community. Now, they teach both verbal and physical defense moves.

“I was teaching martial arts, but I didn’t have a self defense workshop going on or anything like that,” Copson said. “When somebody says ‘fight like a girl’ like, what is that? What imagery comes with that? Usually it can be a bad image, and that’s we’re trying to change.”

In the past four years, the club has grown, using grants they have received to hold free workshops and classes.

“Our workshops are open to everybody, regardless of gender, race, identity, sexual orientation, or expression,” Rose said.

They draw in people of all ages, including 11-year-old Harper, who is now back for her third workshop.

“I was very proud of myself the first time I did it, because at first I was like, ‘How am I sure I’m going to succeed?’” Harper said. “I just felt really happy, and I felt like that was a very important thing to know how to do.”

Fight Like a Grrrl will hold more self-defense workshops in the future.

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