TOMS RIVER — From teens to an 82-year-old woman, there was plenty of interest in the first of at least two free self-defense classes sponsored by the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office.

Another crowd is expected Saturday for the second round. Professional fighter Prairie Rugilo and her staff at Girl Fight will train residents on how to protect themselves during an unwanted circumstance.

"We go over basic strikes for the regular person, open palm strikes. We go over some choke defense. We also go over ground defense," Rugilo told New Jersey 101.5. "It's not going to be one technique that does it; it's going to be all the techniques, along with biting, scratching, fighting dirty, because your attacker might be much bigger and stronger than you."

Prairie Rugilo, owner and head trainer at Girl Fight in Toms River
Prairie Rugilo, owner and head trainer at Girl Fight in Toms River

And participants aren't there to just watch. Rugilo said they're put into (pretend) scenarios while in the class.

"Unless you're actually doing it and learning it yourselves, it may not come into your mind in a panic situation," she said.

A very limited number of slots are still available for the next session on Saturday. But the prosecutor's office is discussing the possibility of sponsoring another class in June. Anyone interested can call the Victim Witness Unit directly at 732-929-2195.

Advocates from the Victim Witness Unit will be on hand during the sessions to answer any questions and to provide information about resources for crime victims.

The initiative is funded by the federal Victims of Crime Act.

Self-defense class

  • Saturday, May 19, 1 to 2:30 p.m.
  • Girl Fight — 1800 Lakewood Road, Unit 4, Toms River

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