EAST WILLIAMSBURG — When Lylah Ribot walks home in the wee hours, the 24-year-old now feels safer than she used to on her Crown Heights streets. It's not a drop in crime or added lighting that's done the trick — it's her own physical prowess.
"If someone starts choking you...there's a simple move to get out of the situation," said Ribot of her lessons from the self defense class at East Williamsburg's Okinawa Karate Studio. "You don't need to have any strength, it's just technique."
Ribot and dozens of other Brooklyn women have gained more street savvy in the past five months, since Okinawa Karate's founder launched free monthly "to the point" classes prepping women to combat potential attackers.
"The police are great but they're never there when there's an attacker," said Jason Donovan, the director of the 10-year-old school. When he heard about muggings and attacks in nearby subway stations he decided to offer help through his school. "The classes teach how to avoid dangerous situations."
The practical lessons focus directly on self defense moves, Donovan said, but noted that some women have started general karate classes after taking the free session.
"Everyone's really encouraging," said Ribot, who now takes the studio's classes for a form of exercise, "and helps each other out. It's great especially as a woman."
For more information on the free monthly classes visit Okinawa Karate's website or call 718-418-9892.