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Self-Defense Student Fights Off Attacker

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – A self-defense class at a Clay County church proved to be very valuable for a woman recently targeted by a would-be mugger in a Middleburg parking lot.

Terry Thompson, 55, said she has always been interested in martial arts, and a year ago began taking Tae Kwon Do classes to gain self-confidence and self-defense.

"I know I'm getting older, and older people are always a target. I didn't ever think I could ever use it for anything," Thomas said.

She was wrong. The 5-foot-2 mother of three had to use her skills one evening as she went to her car parked in the Middleburg First Baptist parking lot after one of her classes.

"I saw a guy walking up from behind the buses that they keep, like he was going to a car. I didn't think anything about it. The next thing I know, he's like almost next to me, asking if I had any money. I said, 'No, I don?t,'" Thompson said.

As Thompson turned to open her car door, she said the man tried to snatch her purse off her shoulder.

"I side kicked him and then punched him. My punch -- I was trying to aim for his chest but I think I hit him in the face," Thompson said.

She said the man ran from the church parking lot empty-handed. She jumped in her truck, still shocked by what had taken place.

Thompson was safe and uninjured thanks to the self-defense classes.