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Florida woman fights off would-be rapist who broke into empty gym hosts free self-defense classes

A Florida woman who shot to fame after she was filmed fighting off a would-be rapist at her gym is now hosting free self-defense classes. 

Nashali Alma, 24, has partnered with YouFit in Tampa to help teach others techniques that they can use to get themselves out of trouble, should they ever find themselves confronted by a similar attacker. 

Explaining her new venture, Alma said: ‘I was embracing it. I’m proud of it just to be there to share my story to inspire others speak up, fight back and never give up.’

She has partnered with self-defense coach Jacob Bleistein, who specializes in the Israeli krav maga form of self-defense training. 

Alma decided to partner with Bleistein after footage of her being attacked in January sparked national and international headlines.   

Nashali Alma, 24, is a fitness enthusiast who weight-lifts. She bravely fought off her attacker in the January 22 assault 

The young woman is now partnering with YouFit teaching free self defense classes

The young woman is now partnering with YouFit teaching free self defense classes

She opened the door to the gym at the Inwood Park Apartment Complex in Tampa, believing suspect Xavier Thomas-Jones to be a fellow resident.

But Thomas-Jones quickly ran at Alma and tried to hurl her to the ground. Alma, a biomedical sciences student, was able to use her weightlifting prowess to fight him off.

She was able to dial 911.

Thomas-Jones fled before cops arrived, but broke into another woman’s apartment the following day.

He was chased away by that unnamed woman’s fiancé, and is said to have subsequently told cops that he wanted to rape both women.  

He was arrested and charged with sexual battery, false imprisonment, and kidnapping. 

Since the attack, Alma has become a poster child for self-defense encouraging and empowering other woman that to survive an attack one needs to ‘fight back’ and ‘never give up.’

Recalling the event, she told NewsNation that at first she wasn’t sure what was happening while she was working out. 

 ‘I was kind of confused, I was like, ‘What’s going on?’ So when he first approached me, I was like, ‘Whoa! What the heck?’ she said.

‘And afterwards, when I realized, he was—you know—there to attack me and try to rape me, that’s when I knew it was about to go down.’

She also spoke about being mindful in dangerous situations.

 ‘My mom always told me to never give up, to never stop fighting. And I just kept that in my head the entire time I was fighting him,’ she said. 

‘Because my mom raised a fighter, and I made sure that it would show.’

Video footage of the harrowing attack of the would-be rapist coming towards Ali

Video footage of the harrowing attack of the would-be rapist coming towards Ali 

The terrifying assault in action that happened in the gym of Ali's apartment building

The terrifying assault in action that happened in the gym of Ali’s apartment building 

Self Defense Coach Jason Bleistein, who teaches at Krav Maga in South Tampa said that if anyone is ever in a situation like Ali was in - the first thing to do is to 'get loud.'

Self Defense Coach Jason Bleistein, who teaches at Krav Maga in South Tampa said that if anyone is ever in a situation like Ali was in – the first thing to do is to ‘get loud.’

Jordan Towns with YouFit told ABC Action News said ‘the video is the proof in the pudding.’

Self Defense Coach Jason Bleistein, who teaches at Krav Maga in South Tampa said that if anyone is ever in a situation like Ali was in – the first thing to do is to ‘get loud.’  

‘Yell at the attacker to ‘Back off’ and ‘Stop.’ This will hopefully draw attention to the situation and show the attacker you will fight back,’ he said. 

Some moves he suggested is to take a step back and put your hands up and dominant foot back and said that an open-hand strike is more powerful than punching with your fist, especially if you hit the nose, jaw, or ear.

‘You never think it’s going to happen to you, and then when it does, you have to make sure you know how to defend yourself,’ he said. 

GirlsFightInc, a martial arts school in Texas called Ali a ‘true fighter’ on their social media.

‘I really have to commend the way Nashali got out of the corner she was in- she kept her hands up, kept the attacker in front of her, used her voice, made use of available obstacles, and circled to an exit,’ the post read. 

‘Even though the attacker persisted, Nashali’s fighting spirit and will to survive prevailed and got her out of a terrible situation.

‘You don’t need to be a UFC fighter to be capable of defending yourself in a street attack. You don’t need to over power them. Just out last them.

‘Every woman is capable of this, especially with training.’

 

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk