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Class teaches defense for friends, foes

Photo by Jeremy Leong, staff photographer

Each year, Drake University conducts a self-defense course aimed at teaching college students, male and female alike, basic techniques to defend themselves in a dangerous situation. “Defend Against the Aggressive,” hosted by Coordinator for Sexual Violence Response and Healthy Relationship Promotion Alysa Mozak and social fraternity Pi Kappa Phi, gathered a group of students in the Bell Center on a Friday evening to talk about the psychology of an attack and how to avoid one.

Senior David Heineman, who has trained in martial arts for over a decade, taught the basics. Heineman, accompanied by Mozak, began by explaining the typical attack -— it’s usually by somebody you know and trust. Most attackers use sneaky techniques to exploit you and gain your trust and sympathy. They use this to mentally manipulate and control you, then physically attack. The point of the course was to not ever let them gain that control.

The one point Heineman and Mozak stressed the most was that nothing the victim ever does makes it their fault. They are a million “what-ifs” in risky situations, but there is never an excuse for a violent or sexual attack. Another main point was that most attacks can easily be prevented in the span of a few seconds by simply being aware and observant. Tips like staying with a buddy are just as important as the more overlooked things, like not playing music or talking on your phone when walking alone at night, or simply knowing who’s around you at all times. A little alertness goes a long way.

Heineman got a chance to share some of his fighting expertise, as students partnered up to try some defense moves.

“It doesn’t matter how big or how strong you are, anybody in this room could beat anybody on any given day if you know how,” Heineman said.

Several key pressure points on the body were located and students were taught where to hit and how to hit to cause the most amount of damage.

Junior Audrey Strike “really liked learning the pressure points of the body.”

“Learning how easily you can take someone out, that was kind of cool,” Strike said.

After getting the basics, students were taken through simple scenarios like being grabbed by the wrist or from behind. Each situation may have called for different moves, but the principle was still the same — put the attacker on the defensive. By properly squirming, twisting and hitting the right areas, a 5’3” girl could easily get out of a 6’0” guy’s chokehold.

Sophomore Jacob Vandervaart organized the event as a way to keep students safe, as well as make Pi Kappa Phi known on campus.

“We wanted to be different, and counteract the ‘frat stereotype’ (of) being inappropriate towards women. What’s the best way to do that? A self-defense class,” Vandervaart said.

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