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Free self-defense class teaches women safety skills

Posted at 9:00 AM, Jul 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-17 09:00:39-04

IOWA CITY, IA (KCRG/CNN) - A free self-defense class helped women learn how to protect themselves from verbal attacks and physical assaults.

The class is particularly geared toward Muslim women.

Haya Saeed, 10, was taking self-defense for the first time, but her partner, 14-year-old Nadeem Mohammed, has been in taekwondo for three years after her father recommended it.

But while the girls break a sweat, they're also having fun learning skills they hope to never have to use.

Hamza Omar, the class' teacher, said simple techniques can give a victim an edge if they come in contact with an attacker.

"Small joint manipulation. That's how you get away from someone pulling your hair, or your hijab. It's the simple," Omar said. "I think everybody wants to feel safe, and given the environment we're post-election."

Omar works for the Iowa City School District and juvenile court system and said he sees the need for women to learn to defend themselves.

His lessons don't incite fear and instead empower women of all ages and backgrounds.

It's a 45-minute workout the girls say they would like to do again.

"Because if you got it anything like that you would know how to take care of yourself," Saeed said.

Omar plans to offer the free classes once or twice a month.

Copyright 2017 KCRG via CNN. All rights reserved.