(By Charlotte Orie)

A domestic abuse victim has turned her life around by training to be an MMA fighter and is hoping to help protect other women by teaching self-defence.

Chelsea LaGrasse, 29, from Columbus, Ohio, started training in 2015 after escaping an abusive relationship. This led to her wanting to teach other women how to protect themselves from violence.

The personal health coach, self-defence instructor and MMA fighter started competing in Jiu Jitsu tournaments around the world and won her first ever MMA fight in 2016.

The mum-of-one, who is only five foot tall, hopes to inspire and motivate other women to stand up for themselves and walk away from abusive relationships.

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Chelsea LaGrasse(Pic by caters news, magazinefeatures.co.za)


Chelsea attends MMA classes several times a week, regularly lifts weight and has completely changed her diet to include plenty of protein, vegetables and complex carbs.

Mum Chelsea said: “I started training in 2015 because I wanted a new fitness challenge for myself and wanted to learn self-defence which was inspired by the domestic abuse I went through.

“I mostly train in Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai, Wrestling and Judo but have won a couple of boxing matches as well.

Chelsea LaGrasse teaching what to do when someone tries to grab control of you from behind.(Pic by caters news, magazinefeatures.co.za)

Domestic violence is a serious problem

“I started teaching self-defence a year ago because I felt like I had learned enough from my training to start sharing this with others. I feel it is my duty and passion to show others how to protect themselves because I want people to know that domestic violence is a serious problem.

“My daughter inspires me to continue to be a better mum and person – the fact that there is evil in this world and I can help prevent it is motivating to me.

“Self-defence is beneficial because it not only teaches you techniques you could use to save your life, it also builds confidence in yourself. I want to inspire everyone but mostly women and children because they are more prone to attacks.

“I have had feedback from one of my self-defence participants who used one of the moves I taught her when she was attacked and it saved her life – that was awesome to hear”.

Chelsea LaGrasse teaching her daughter Muay Thai
(Pic by caters news, magazinefeatures.co.za)
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SAPS Emergency Services 10111
Toll-free Crime Stop number 086 00 10111
GBV Command Centre Contact the 24-hour Gender Based Violence Command Centre toll-free number 0800 428 428 to report abuse
STOP Gender Violence Helpline Tel: 0800 150 150/ *120*7867#
South African Police Service Report all cases of rape, sexual assault or any form of violence to a local police station or call the toll-free Crime Stop number: 086 00 10111
Legal Aid South Africa Call the toll-free Legal Aid Advice Line 0800110 110 for free legal aid if you cannot afford one
Commission for Gender Equality Report Gender Discrimination and Abuse: 0800 007 709
South African Human Rights Commission Call 011 877 3600 to lodge a complaint about human rights violations.
Domestic violence Helpline Stop Women Abuse: 0800 150 150
AIDS Helpline 0800 012 322
The Warrior Project FREE legal helpline for victims of domestic abuse: 0860 333 353
People Opposed to Woman Abuse(Powa) http://www.powa.co.za, Tel: 011 642 4345
Child Welfare South Africa http://childwelfaresa.org.za/, Tel: 074 080 8315
Childline South Africa http://www.childlinesa.org.za/, Tel: 0800 055 555
Families South Africa (Famsa) http://www.famsaorg.mzansiitsolutions.co.za/, Tel: 011 975 7106/7
Tears Foundation http://www.tears.co.za/, Free SMS helpline: *134*7355#, Tel: 010 590 5920
The Trauma Centre http://www.trauma.org.za/, Tel: 021 465 7373
Thuthuzela Care Centres http://isssasa.org.za/