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Apr 3, 2013 9:57 AM by Samantha Ptashkin

On the defense: Protect yourself by putting down the cell phone

TUCSON- It was nothing more than a routine call for Mindy Slanaker.

She was on the phone, heading back to her car in the supermarket parking lot. "I was walking along, looking at the ground, not paying any attention," Slanaker says.

Then she leaned over to open her door. "And as I rotated around, there was a man standing in between my basket and myself," Slanaker says.

Luckily another car pulled up.

But the memory of her predator's face and Slanaker's fear convinced her it was time to take care of her bad habit. "Your mind is not focused when you're on the phone at all," Slanaker says.

She started taking self-defense classes from Tucson Self Defense instructor Michael Francis.

He teaches his students basic defense moves and tells them to put the cell phone down if you're in public.

"When you're in a self defense situation, regardless of if you have been practicing it for as long as I have, your body reacts by going into shock," Francis says. "Someone who is aware of their surroundings has a better reaction. The shock wears off faster."

Francis says something as simple as your set of keys can also be used to fight off attackers.

They are simple steps, now ingrained in Slanaker's mind.

"Your mind just automatically works on what can I do to protect myself and how do I react because things happen so fast," Slanaker says.

If there is ever a "next time" she says she won't depend on luck to save her life.

To learn how you can sign up for a self defense class with Michael Francis:

Email: mike.tucsonselfdefense@gmail.com

Call: (520) 990-9172

Facebook: "Tucson Self Defense"

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