Students learn to fight back with self-defense class

Photo Credit: Steven Broome

Each semester students receive e-mails and alerts from the University of West Georgia (UWG) Police about robberies and attacks on campus. While access to law enforcement is available at anytime, they are not always able to tend to every student’s need at any hour of the day. It then becomes the student’s responsibility to know how to protect themselves in case of an attack. As campus crime steadily rises, campus police has continued their three-year long team up with the Rape Aggression Defense Basic Personal Defense System (R.A.D.) for semester sessions of self-defense classes.

R.A.D. is a national program of self-defense tactics and skills that are taught to men, women, children and seniors to promote safety when they are unaccompanied.

UWG’s program is specifically for women only and is offered over the course of three months in the fall semester. These months include: September, October and November.

Classes are taught by nationally certified R.A.D. Instructors and are offered from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Campus Center Aerobics room on select Wednesdays in the months. Classes were offered every Wednesdays in September, and will be offered Oct. 21st and 28th. In November, classes will be offered on the 4th, 11th and 18th.

“The UWG Police chose the R.A.D. program specifically because it was the largest and most successful program of its kind,” said MSgt. Investigator of West Georgia Police J. Michael Keener. “It is also the only self-defense system endorsed by the IACLEA (International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators). R.A.D. is the industry standard for women’s self-defense.”

Self-defense training is not just martial arts but “a large amount of proactive information on how to prevent victimization and opportunity to be victimized such as information about date rape dru

The R.A.D. program provides women the opportunity to make educated assessments about defense as well as gain insight into the attacker’s mentality. It not only encourages confidence and strength, but it promotes awareness.

“It is important for women to be confident and capable to defend themselves so that they do not have to rely on others for their safety,” Keener said. “Often times a woman is assaulted when they are alone or isolated, and therefore, relying on the police or others to intervene means that the help will come too late or not at all. Everyone woman has the ability to defend themselves from aggression.”

The physical self-defense is still a big part of it as well.

“The R.A.D. program teaches a number of practical self-defense techniques,” he said. “These techniques include multiple hand strikes, elbow strikes, knee strikes, kicks, ground defense and an escape from grabs and chokes.”

Completion of the R.A.D. program offers many valuable opportunities and more importantly, lifestyle changes.

“The students who have completed the course often report an increased sense of empowerment, confidence and feelings of being safe,” he said. “We hope that students leave with a confidence they did not have on the first day. We also hope they leave with a set of basic self-defense skills that can be called upon in moments of crisis as well as a lifelong passion for advocating for themselves and other women.”

Students receive a signed manual that allows them a lifetime opportunity to continue practicing self-defense free of charge with any instructor in the United States and also Canada.

In addition, R.A.D. offers classes for specific groups at UWG that include sororities and student organizations.

“Self-defense is a lifestyle that is important to make part of your everyday activities, and I encourage women to seek knowledge in all areas and to actively engage in activities that ensure their safety,” Keener said. “The world is an unsafe place, and they are ultimately responsible for their safety within it.



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