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On the day dubbed “Galentine’s Day,” an unofficial holiday of “ladies celebrating ladies” on the day before Valentine’s, Top Defense and Fitness debuted its first Women’s Self-Defense class.

Rob Hunt, owner of TDF gym, said he wanted to teach women how to take charge of their defense and teamed up other coaches, many of whom are pros at his gym, to put together a comprehensive class on Thursday evening.

“There are a lot of classes out there that are teaching women things that don’t work,” Hunt said. “In my experience, when somebody attacks, it is quick, fast, and they want to shock you. In this class, we prepare for that moment.”

Addressing a group of nearly 20 women, Hunt cautioned about the intensity of the class and that there might be a few bruises by the end but the confidence gained would be worth it.

“We’d rather have you bruised in here than out there,” Hunt said.

Retired FBI agent Frank Montoya Jr. shared a few of his experiences out in the field and emphasized situational awareness as a key part of self defense.

“It is always when you least expect it that bad things happen,” Montoya said. “This doesn’t mean that you should walk around all day scared for your life but you will gain confidence by being prepared.”

He said there is power in numbers, but in those moments when you are by yourself, being aware of your surroundings can be critical. He said even just walking to the car with the keys in hand can increase your ability to eliminate vulnerable moments.

“I have always been on the small side so I have always focused on being strong and practicing technique,” Montoya said. “But it was a last resort, I always try to be first aware and then avoid situations that could put me in harm’s way. There is no shame in that behavior. We are not being obsessive or paranoid, just smart.”

Nicole Wallace brought her 12-year-old daughter along with her to the class and said the class helped her feel confident in her daughter’s ability to defend herself as she grows up.

“It is important to know what to do in those scary moments,” Wallace said. “I feel more confident that if we were walking through a dark parking lot or grabbed from behind, we would know what to do.”

Hunt plans to have another self-defense class in April, and the classes will continue every other month from then on. It is a free class but women can only take the class once to ensure opportunities for others. To find more information about self-defense classes or courses, go to

“It is just a start but it is a good start to help women feel more comfortable in their daily life,” Hunt said. “We don’t sugarcoat it around here, we get down to business.”

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