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Self-defense experts discuss importance of being aware of surroundings

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Self-defense classes are becoming more and more popular. Most are martial arts-based, but one local expert says in real life there's nothing choreographed.

An attack from behind, it's a crisis tough to escape once you're in it. But it happened to a woman Tuesday morning outside her North Charleston home.

Police said Joseph Frazier and another man rushed her as she was coming home. A man inside the woman's apartment heard the commotion and opened fire, shooting and killing Frazier. The incident is a reminder how important it is to know how to defend yourself.

Preparing for the unexpected can be hard work and exhausting. Matt Robinson teaches self-defense classes at Charleston Krav Maga gym in West Ashley.

He said their students practice real-life scenarios and learn what it feels like to be choked.

"When it happens to a lot of people in real life, they just freeze because they've never experienced it before,” he said.

Robinson studies attacks caught on surveillance video.

He said most victims are distracted when they are attacked because they’re talking on the phone, texting and being unaware of the surroundings.

"People are looking for and what they're going to do is they're going to find someone they know they can attack that's going to be the least fight for them,” Robinson said.

His classes focus on every scenario being different and said there's no magic move. Preparing for the worst takes practice. While weapons would be nice to have, in reality, there's rarely enough time to grab one.

"It can be a deterrent,” he said. “It might be able to get you to run away but chances are you're going to experience a lot of that blowback from the mace particles as well."

After testing it over and over, Robinson said dialing 911 during a sneak attack is rarely an option.

In any event, he said fight back with everything you've got, attackers are much more likely to give up when there's a fight.

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