NewsMontana and Regional News


Self-defense classes offered to high school women

Self Defense
Posted at 6:45 PM, Mar 17, 2024

FAIRFIELD — While the real world can sometimes be a scary place, young women in rural Montana are learning how to fight back against potential threats.

While Jen Barnett’s job description might just say, ‘realtor’, but in life she is a huge advocate for young people’s safety. In the past she has given presentations for online safety to students as well as started 1000 In Action, a foundation to prevent child abuse.

“When I went to college, I was pretty naive and unprepared for the real world,” said Jen Barnett.

To help protect other young women from the area, Barnett organized and paid for six weeks of self-defense classes that high school girls can sign up for.

“I just want to make sure that, you know, our girls are prepared,” Barnett said, “And they feel confident and strong and safe when they leave here.”

Led by instructors from Dragon Fire Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, young women are in the Fairfield High School gym, learning about the most common ways they could be taken advantage of, as well as how to fight back and escape.

“So, essentially what we’re learning today is how to take control in a mount situation, where someone is on top of you,” said Anastasia, a senior from Simms High School, “And we’re learning how to slide out of that, get them vulnerable, punch them and all that, and take control of the situation.”

While it can be scary to think you might be in danger, it is always better to know what to do if the worst-case scenario occurs rather than pretend the threat does not exist.

“Each state is getting worse now,” Anastasia said, “So I feel like self-defense is a need-to-know thing.”

Learning how to fight and protect yourself in a safe, controlled environment is incredibly beneficial, and is teaching young women valuable lessons they can take with them beyond high school.

“I definitely think this is gonna help me,” said Lexi, another Simms High School senior, “Because I don’t really know much about, like, what to do, and now I at least know a little bit.”

There are only a handful of open spots remaining for the program, but Barnett plans on running it every year. You can reach to her for more information at