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Israeli Self-Defense Technique Being Used To Keep American Women Safe

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Every two minutes someone in the United States is sexually assaulted and 80 percent of victims are under 30.

A self-defense technique called Krav Maga (pronounced Crov  Ma-gah) first taught to Israeli soldiers is now being taught to our military, law enforcement agents and everyday people, looking to defend themselves.

The numbers are staggering — one in four women will be raped before they graduate college.

Cindy Guerro nearly became a statistic.

“There was an incidence when someone I thought was my friend — he kind of forced himself on me. And I froze,” she said.

Fortunately, she got out of that situation unharmed. But like a growing number of young women across Southern California, she is now taking her safety into her own hands.

She is fully immersed in her Krav Maga class. She got the classes as a gift before she started her freshman year.

Darren Levine, a prosecutor for L.A. County, believes Krav Maga is a great gift for any woman. He is also a 6th-degree black belt and one of the highest-ranked Krav Maga instructors in the world.

“For those people who are looking for a measure of self defense… and they want to get it now we show a variety of common attacks, what happens on the street during a crime. That’s what we do,” he said.

A student named Jasmine really finds the classes easy.

“I really like the drills. It definitely gets you out of your comfort zone,” Jasmine said.

Levine said classes also teach more than just how or where to jab an assailant.

“If you were just to teach techniques, then you’re building people for failure. Because you need to teach the mindset to survive, to engage someone who wants to kill you, to stab you, to rape you,” Levine said. “How do you stay there and fight and hit and know where to hit and know how to do all those things?”

Students are taught inside a gym, but they are then tested in more realistic surroundings.

“Your vision isn’t as good in the dark. and that’s more likely when, what they’re going to be attacked in, under those circumstances, rather than the beautiful lighting in the gym we have here. It doesn’t make any sense [to only train in a gym],” he said.

Students are taught how to deal with a knife attack. How to deal with someone pointing a gun at you. How to avoid being kidnapped and what do to if your assailant gets on top of you.

Mia, a student, likes the fact that her Krav Maga instructors repeat drills over and over.

“I’d never taken any self defense class before but the instructors are really great at explaining everything and the other students are really helpful… so they make it really nice,” Mia said.

“And at the end of my day, I have my life in my own hands. And it prepares me for the worst case scenario,” Jasmine added.

Cindy has put the worst case scenario to the test.

“A guy came and just opened my car door while I was waiting at the 7-Eleven, and at the time I just reacted. I just screamed at him and it shocked him and it freaked him out and he just left my car. Prior to this experience I think I would have just panicked.”

For more information about Krav Maga, visit www.kravmaga.com.

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