The faces of many of the students at Lone Star Mixed Martial Arts in Tyler these days are much different than in years past.
They are the faces of women learning to protect themselves and their households.
The basis of martial arts training is learning how to react in defense not in fear.
"One thing is changing perception," said Judo black belt and instructor Aaron Goodwin. "It's identifying someone who potentially is a threat before they become a threat. It's seeing someone who looks like they are scoping you out. If you are hyper alert, when you walk out into the parking lot you don't have your head down looking for your keys. If you have your head up and you're looking around most people aren't going to mess with you anyway because the criminal element wants a soft target, someone they can bully. So, you can see them coming that deters most."
"Second, you have to change your mind set. If you see someone coming at you, the first thought is fear. If you were to see someone big coming at your kid, your first thought is, 'You're not going to hurt my kid.' So you have to change your mentality before you step into any situation. Because if someone attacks you and hurts you, they're taking away your families livelihood as well."
Hong Arthur has two daughters. Like mom they are also learning martial arts. Hong said her perception of her safety and her children's safety has changed since taking classes.
"The moves make you more confident in defending yourself and protecting yourself," she said.
At five-foot-three-inches tall , Hong has found that no matter the opponent she knows she can prevail.
"It's tough to fight the bigger people," she explained. "But that just makes you stronger and makes your more confident when it comes to the real situation when you have to defend yourself."
Hong demonstrated one move based on a man's attack to pin a woman down. Her movements transformed the attacker into the attacked.
"Anytime a man tries to get a girl down on the ground, the Jujitsu is actually defending yourself while you are down on the ground. So just now we demonstrated 'The Triangle' when the man is on the girl, the girl could uses 'The Triangle' to choke the man and if you do not let go the man could actually pass out."
KLTV 7 Sports Director Maya Golden gave other forms of martial arts a try and found that many are perfect for a woman's self defense.
"Judo is actually a good style for women's martial arts," explained Aaron Goodwin, "because it doesn't require them to be strong since they are using the opponents energy as the way to defend themselves."
At five-foot-seven-inches, average height and weight, using Judo, Maya was able to flip over a much taller and heavier man trying to grab hold of her.
Another practical form of martial arts for women, Aikido.
Stanley Wilson is also a black belt instructor.
"You don't necessarily need muscle, because what you are doing is redirecting the other person's energy," Stanley explained. "In Aikido, you more or less learn to defend yourself with one person all the way up to four people."
"A lot of our movements are much more based on open Samurai type movements. But at the same time, you also learn how to defend yourself against a knife, how to defend yourself against a sword, if you have multiple attacks. Because on the street, you may be attacked by a weapon. You may be attacked by a gun. How do you disarm the individual?"
A few minutes and Stanley had taught Maya how to defend herself from a knife attack by letting the attackers momentum carry them forward and past me as she grabbed their arm and twisted their wrist.
To truly learn to respond to an attack through action not fear, you would of course need more than one lesson. Still, even a few classes have proven to make a difference for many students.