Consultant for fight scenes helps Houston women find inner strength

Avital Zeisler of Soteria Method focuses on self-defense, empowerment, fitness

HOUSTON – A Hollywood television and film consultant for fight scenes recently came to Houston to help women find some inner strength.

Avital Zeisler, founder and lead instructor of The Soteria Method, focuses on self-defense, empowerment and fitness.

Zeisler is a classically trained ballerina-turned tough-as-nails fighter. She served as a trainer for the NBC show "The Blacklist," teaching skills to the show's lead character, Megan Boone.

But for Zeisler, this is not just a job or a hobby -- this is about survival.

"I'm teaching them Soteria Method. It's a method of self-defense that I developed from my own personal experience of overcoming a sexual assault," said Zeisler.

The class in Houston was held for 40 women who all live at The Women's Home, a residential treatment facility.

"To be able to be listened to, to be able to do what I need to do to be successful and to be stable is wonderful," said resident Dolly Williams.

Williams is from San Antonio and has dealt with drug abuse and homelessness for more than 20 years.

"The Women's Home is a blessing. It helped me get deep down into my soul. and find out what the problem was and bring the emotions up and talk about them," said Williams.

Zeisler is perfect for the class. She says she was at rock bottom after an assault, and developing the technique took six years and turned her life around.

"Teaching self-defense, fitness, self-discovery it's a holistic approach to finding this new feminine strength," said Zeisler.

Building self-esteem, confidence and feeling more empowered is the focus at the Women's Home, so this is a perfect partnership.

"Help the women reduce the stigma of the things they've been through and feel comfortable with their story. Because so many of us have gone through things like that in our life and maybe we've learned not to talk about them, we try to help people be comfortable with their history," said Marcia Tapp, director of resource development The Women's Home.

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