ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The University of New Mexico has partnered up with a Jackson Wink MMA Academy to offer a class that teaches potentially life-saving skills. The class, Smart Girl Self Defense, has turned out to be one of the most popular classes in the university’s Continuing Education program. Last month more than 40 women took part in this self-defense class, where students learn more than how to protect themselves.

Heather Winkeljohn has been teaching this class for 10 years at Jackson Wink Academy. In the class, students learn the most common grabs and hold along with different approaches to real-life scenarios they may encounter.

“We’ve seen an explosion in the class in the last 6-8 months and we’re hearing crazier stories honestly,” said Winkeljohn. “In that class, we’re focusing on escaping and avoiding we don’t want people to have an exchange if it’s avoidable especially a woman up against someone who may be stronger.”

UNM Continuing Education program added the class to its curriculum two years ago, in response to requests from students. “The self-defense class grew out of basically student interest and a lot of our classes actually develop that way, somebody comes up to us and says I really want to take a class on this topic,” said Maralie Waterman, Program Manager.

The class costs $96 and is open to anyone. The next self-defense class will be on Saturday, February 11. The classes sometimes feature guest speakers from the Albuquerque Police Department.