Last week I attended a self-defense class put on by Public Safety. The 4 hour class was presented by two of our Public Safety officers: Officer Tennant and Officer Jackson. I entered into the HWC 105 classroom and into the “co-ed” elf-defense class but I was not at all surprised when I saw myself and six other girls sitting around the room. It ended up only being girls in attendance but in all honesty it made me feel less awkward when it came to the actual physical engagements. But first off the beginning of the class consisted of a one hour lecture on the specifics of what we were learning. The presentation went over the signs of a predator and how to putting yourself in harmful situations.
The biggest signs of a predator are:
-asks very personal & probing questions about life
-tells sexual jokes (evaluates your reaction to them)
-makes sexual innuendoes
-stays very close/is touchy
-creates “teaming” with “we/us” statements instead of “you and I”
Recommended strategies to avoid it:
-tell people where you are/ where you are going
-drive yourself, don’t ride with other people
-take money to get home on your own
-keep hands free
-call for an escort if on campus
-stay in well lit areas
-careful when people stop you for information
-yell and run
-think about your attire
-have situational awareness
-carry a conventional or unconventional weapon in your hand
-Take your headphones out when walking or jogging
-when driving have the windows and doors locked
-have your keys ready
The presentation also went over the effects going this stressful situation can have on a person. These stresses consisted of:
Physical: fine motor and cognitive decision making degrade quickly after heart beat goes over 145, gross motor skills increase
Physiological stress: sensory distortion, tunnel vision, auditory blocking, hand eye coordination diminish, difficulty w/ verbal communication.
After the lecture we went up to another room and practiced some basic hits and kicks that would be effective in incapacitating an attacker. These consisted of a lot of open handed hits and pointed toe kicks so that when defending yourself you won’t get hurt. We also learned how to escape from some basic wrist grabs and how to use our momentum to throw people off. But the number one thing Officer Jackson told us to take away from the basics is that if you can reach their eyes, got for it. Gauge their eyes out, poke with your finger, a pencil, anything that can cause some serious damage. That could be the thing that makes or breaks it for you getting away.
After the basics the officers took us into another room with a huge mat on the ground for us to practice some on the ground combat. We practiced having someone “choking” us with them on top of us and how to flip them and get off the ground, we also practiced having another person on top of us and beating us and how to flip them off and get off the ground again. Those moves actually make me feel relatively safer if I found myself in a situation where I would need to use the move and I’ll explain why in a moment.
At the end of all the practicing Officer Jackson suited me up in a foam combat suit with a helmet and gloves and I was going to do a simulation with Officer Tennant. Now Officer Tennant is a large man and is at least twice my size and body weight so when he took me to the ground I thought there was no way I would ever get out of the situation but with the moves I was taught I was actually able to flip Officer Tennant off of me enough that I could flip over and work my way to a standing position and free of his grab entirely so that I could run away. Now I know of course this was not a real situation and Officer Tennant was probably anticipating everything I was doing. But thinking about myself in a real life situation I feel far more confident in a combat situation, because I know my attacker will not be anticipating me fighting back.
So the whole point of this blog really is to say “Go and take a self-defense class!” It’s amazing what you can learn and maybe make you feel even more confident in your self-defense skills. I am honestly glad I took the opportunity to take the class and strengthen myself as a person. Especially since I am going to study abroad for an entire year and I do not want anything to happen while I am in another country! Let’s not have the plot from taken play out for me, especially because my name is Amanda…
But this class was very enlightening to all who attended and I very much plan on taking more self-defense courses and I highly recommend it if you ever have the opportunity!
By Amanda Summers