WSVN — Sure… high heels look great, but can they actually save your life? One woman is using fashion to fight back with a new self-defense method aimed at inspiring and protecting women. 7’s Lynn Martinez has our special assignment report "Pump You Up."

Avital Zeisler trained for years to become a professional dancer.

Avital Zeisler, Creator of the Soteria Method: "The dream was to become the next prima ballerina. It was my creative outlet. It was the one thing that got me up in the morning and excited about life."

But she says her excitement for life was stolen when she was attacked…

Avital Zeisler: "It was my first boyfriend. I experienced sexual assault and violence."

For Avital, coping with the anxiety that followed was difficult. 

Avital Zeisler: "Going through victim services and really trying to overcome the trauma, nothing worked."

Even her passion for ballet didn’t help. 

Avital Zeisler: "It was so disappointing and heartbreaking for me because I didn’t have that creative outlet that I thought it would give me. It didn’t heal me at all."

So she turned from dance… to defense. She began self-defense classes. They helped… but she strived for something more empowering.

Avital Zeisler: "I really realized in that journey that self-defense has to go far beyond the capabilities of just physical self-defense."

That inspired her to pump up the self-defense techniques she was taught… to create the Soteria Method.

Avital Zeisler: "Survival, fitness and also authentic empowerment for women."

Her method is aimed at inspiring women. She says they can be feminine and fearless. 

Avital Zeisler: "It’s a method of self defense created by a woman for a woman. I remember very vividly coming up to the high heels thinking, ‘Wait, should I not wear high heels anymore?’"

So she kept her heels… transforming them into a survival tool. 

Avital Zeisler: "Running in high heels. Transition onto the balls of your feet in your shoes so that you don’t rely on the weight being distributed into the heel itself."

She even adapted one of her favorite self-defense moves– turning her shoes into a weapon. 

Avital Zeisler: "If you hold the body of the shoe, you can use one of my favorite combatives, which is the hammer fist. I can do a back hammer fist. I can reach up higher for someone who’s much taller than me. I can even shift my hips to the side and go for a low hammer fist to the groin."

Avital’s ultimate goal is to teach women to live their lives without living in fear… 

Avital Zeisler: "I was either going to have to find a way on my own to survive, or that incident was just going to put me in that victim mindset and I did not want to stay there."

Avital is traveling and teaching the Soteria Method to instructors around the world and one of her stops is right here in South Florida. We’ll keep you posted on when you can join a class. Lynn Martinez, 7News.

Avital has also written a book about the Soteria Method so you can brush up on the techniques before classes start.





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