Lowcountry woman learns Krav Maga for self-defense after being attacked

Women train at Charleston Krav Maga & MMA.

Wednesday was a regular afternoon for Laura Baldino at Charleston Krav Maga & MMA.

"I saw they had a class for women only and I felt comfortable with that," she said.

Krav Maga isn't for the faint of heart.

"What I learned was how to defend myself and I gained a lot of confidence. I'm kind of tough now."

April is sexual assault awareness month. Charleston Fight for Hope is hosting a women's self-defense seminar Saturday, April 9th from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. There are 100 spots open to women ages 13 and older. It's being held at Charleston Krav Maga & MMA at 1250 Wappoo Road in West Ashley.

Before Krav Maga, Laura lived a life of fear.

"I was very scared coming in because of an assault that happened to me. I was choked."

The violent attack left her alone and looking for answers.

"After the attack, I dealt with living with PTSD, I went to a lot of different therapies, met with different doctors."

She credits her courage to krav maga.

"I've gained a lot of confidence and I'm not afraid anymore," she said. "I'm prepared for anything to happen."

Laura says she has a new direction after taking the classes.

"My professional career has flourished, I'm not afraid to take risks, take chances, to get out in the world and really live life."

Ashely Bird is the president of the organization Fight for Hope.

"We're a huge supporter of self-defense and everyone knowing how to defend themselves," she said.

Her group partners with Charleston Krav Maga & MMA to teach women how to defend themselves.

"This is a great opportunity to open up what we do to the community and have them come in."

Laura knows this all too well.

"My hope is that women know they're not alone," she said. "The courage to stand up, to say this did happen to me, I'm a survivor of violent crime, and you can get thru it, and your life can be really good, you don't have to let that hold you back.

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