Self-defense and personal security does not always include a physical altercation.

The mind can often help you prevail in a potentially dangerous situation.

That's one of the messages Rachael Van Horn wants to emphasize during a "For Real Women, Personal Security Class" she is offering Saturday (April 26) at the Hampton Inn.

"In this class, I'm teaching women to use their most important muscle and that is their brain," Van Horn, a veteran and former Department of Defense civilian employee, said.

Van Horn is trained in self-defense tactics and served in dangerous areas overseas. She is SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape) trained through the military, but her class isn't going to necessarily teach you how to beat someone up.

"It's not a karate or a physical self defense class, "she said, "although I will teach a couple of things you can do that are very simple and will give you a chance."

Among other things, Van Horn teachers her students how to feel more confident and more at peace while at home, walking to your car or even traveling alone. She said she will help women adapt skills that help them immediately recognize potential danger and just as quickly adapt, avoid it and go on their way.

"I'm going to teach women how to value their own intuition and how to put themselves first, even if it is only for 30 seconds because 30 seconds of "selfishness" can sometimes save your life."

As an example, Van Horn pointed out that a woman walking to her car after work or at night might be distracted by a call from her family and possibly get in a hurry, and ignore something around her that could turn into a dangerous situation.

"As women, we judge ourselves a lot and sometimes it is that judgement we heap onto ourselves that ramps up the level of emotion we are feeling, then forces us to disregard safety while we're trying to meet the needs of others."

Van Horn will talk about how listening to your gut instinct can help you avoid danger, some tactics to use if a dangerous situation presents itself and how to survive if you find yourself in trouble.

"There are certain skills I can teach them to help them escape, or if they can't escape how to survive a situation emotionally," Van Horn said. "I want women to come away from this with the permission to put themselves first when it comes to their personal safety and the ability to have peace when they go for a walk with their dog or feel secure in their own home.

She also wants to help women feel free enough to travel, even overseas and offers some good information regarding overseas travel and safety.

While trained for dangerous situations, there is also a personal element that drives Van Horn to help women of all ages.

"When I was 19, my sister had a random break-in to her home and was the victim of a violent crime," she said. "So I'm very passionate about teaching women to take care of themselves.

Van Horn said the age range for this class should be girls and women over 16. She is planning a class for younger girls in May.

Hours on Saturday are 9 am. to 11 a.m. For more information, cost of the class and to pre-register call 580-334-2792.

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