Stilletto Self-Defense

"I wanted women to just know enough ... to be able to tap into their inner power and ward off a predator"

Stilletto heels aren't just fashionable, they also serve a purpose.

Local self-defense expert Jennifer Cassetta has created the Stiletto Self Defense program that demonstrates how women can protect themselves.

She developed the techniques after she was attacked several years ago while walking on the street late at night.

"He grabbed me from behind and in that half a sec, like, I knew in my head from my training that I had an instant to choose whether to be a victim or a victor and I turned into what I liked to call a 'she beast,' basically went crazy like I was going to attack him," Cassetta said.

According to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted every two minutes.

The 5 foot 1 inch third degree black belt in HapKido, a Korean martial art, was able to chase off her attacker while wearing high heels. She began teaching the program in 2006 using her 12 years of experience.

"I wanted women to just know enough of the basics to be able to tap into their inner power and ward off a predator," Cassetta said.

Cassetta explained her ABC's of self-defense: Awareness, Boundaries, and being Centered and Calm in the face of adversity.

"We have on our bodies five different weapons, pretty much, and they start with the hands, elbows, knees, feet and your head," Cassetta said.

As for those heels, Cassetta suggested wearing comfortable ones that you can run in if necessary.

"The first thing you do with those sexy stilettos is stomp your heel right down on the foot," Cassetta said. "Hopefully it will go right through the foot. You can also take the foot and go up the groin with that stiletto, as well."

Cassetta said, remember to let out your inner "she beast" and be loud, calling attention to your situation.

"It all starts in the mind and it's a mind body spirit class ... if you think you are powerful enough to get away in a situation like that, most likely you can," Cassetta said.

Another tip: think like a predator.

"How can you avoid being a target? You want to stand up straight make sure you are looking around, shoulders back,” she said. “You see girls texting and headphones. None of that.”

Two 20-something's taking her class were inspired by what they learned.

"I walk around with my headphones and disappear into my music, and I never thought I am very vulnerable at that moment," Stephanie McCall said.

Tina Pareedes said the class challenged her habits, as well.

"I usually avoid looking at people in the eye walking around the street but once you get that in your head to just go after someone in the face, yea," Pareedes said.

Cassetta holds local workshops once a month but is also available by appointment for special classes. She recently held a class in one part of Los Angeles where there was a spike in sexual assaults.

"I have mothers, a lot of mothers, who have girls going off to college that will call me and schedule a class" Cassetta said.

Her techniques are also available on DVDs. For more information check out

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