Posted at: 11/11/2013 6:30 PM
By: Steph Crock
(ABC 6 News) -- We've seen too much of it lately, women being abducted, held captive, or even murdered, but a local ex-Navy Seal has dedicated his life to helping women prevent such things from happening.
"This all started with a father who wanted his daughter to be safer when he went off to college," said former Navy Seal Al Horner. He started the self-defense class called "Not Me," and word of it has spread fast, reaching a familiar face.
"It was my step dad's idea. He's known Al for a while and he's known that he's done these classes and they've been really beneficial for people in the past," said our own ABC 6 Sports Anchor Kate Constable. She, along with family and friends recently piled into Kate's family basement for the course. "With my little sister going off to school, me moving to a new area, my siblings being dispersed in different areas by ourselves, he thought it'd be good for us to learn these skills and techniques," said Kate.
For the class to be most effective, it has to be realistic. Al and his assistant Karla Rapp are vulgar and rough. "It's kind of interesting when you're sitting next to your mom and your little sister," said Kate's older sister Rachael.
It may be awkward, but it's important. "Don't live in denial, 1 in 4 women are going to need it," said Karla. Who could forget the three women who were held captive in Cleveland, Ohio for a decade. Then, look just in Minnesota within months of each other; Kira Steger went missing and her body was found in the Mississippi, University of Minnesota student Anarae Schunk disappeared and her body was found in a ditch, plus University of Minnesota Duluth student Mandy Matula vanished and her body was just found in a shallow grave.
"It's hard for me to see these events that happen knowing they could be prevented, and what did we do wrong so that these women didn’t get training?" said Al. He learned in the Navy how to face fear head-on and is now using those skills to help save women in danger.
“I had an experience when I was very young and as I got older, that was even more and more traumatic about how I didn't handle that and I didn't tell anybody about it. Then when I was in college, I got myself in a very vulnerable situation that was not my fault and I realized, this happens all the time," said Karla.
"To be prepared is the best defense you can have," said Kate, "I mean Al really like handles you, and throws you around, and he makes it really real," Kate went on to say about the training.
"The adrenaline goes up, they get a little bit scared, and then they realize, ‘I just did it! I just got away from an ex-Navy Seal and I didn't know I could do it,’" said Karla.
From jabbing the attacker in the eyes, to escaping a tight hold, and kicking when your down, Al and Karla take turns getting beat up. "Every once and a while one of the girls gets a little enthusiastic and you get a little scratch," laughed AL. Some of the moves even look silly, but Al says the attacker won't expect them and they work. "I get feedback weekly from someone who says, ‘using what I learned in the class I kept something bad from happening,’" said Al.
Kate tells us she's glad her stepdad arranged this. "I mean, the men in our lives, in our families, are so caring and all of the girlfriends, and the wives, and the sister-in-laws, and their friends are all here," she said.
Al only wishes he could have reached out to those other women who have fallen victim. There's this pain associated with knowing that nearly every one of those assaults could have been prevented or avoided, or with what we teach, the girl or woman could have escaped, and we didn't get to her," said AL.
They also sell mase spray, batons, tasers, and other tools for women to purchase at the class. "Not Me" is a class geared toward women, but Al says they are rolling out a new class for youth. Details can be found on their website notmetraining.com.