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Female students learn self-defense

Anna Reid (left) and Savannah Whitaker (right) practice self-defense moves. The training included prevention and risk avoidance. Vanguard Photo | Brooke Elward

Residential Life held a women’s self-defense program with University Police after receiving positive feedback from the program last year.

Event coordinator Brenden Kiel said he believes SVSU has a safe campus.

Nonetheless, he said it is important for students to know how to protect themselves.

Events such as the Thursday, Oct. 23 training Residential Life offered gives students such an opportunity.

“It is my hope that the residents who attended this program learned the signs of a potential attacker and gained the knowledge necessary to fight back,” Kiel said.

Kiel said he hoped the training gave students the opportunity to establish a positive relationship with some of SVSU’s police officers.

He said University Police offer many resources to students, including the free self-defense training sessions.

Officer Kyle Barber, who also teaches at the Delta College Policy Academy, showed the SVSU students at the program self-defense techniques and gave them tips about staying safe.

“Any time you can help someone to defend themselves is a good thing,” Barber said. “I’d rather see people that are capable versus victims.”

During the event, 11 female students learned the proper techniques for defense. Barber taught them how to release themselves from being held, which soft spots to hit on their attacker’s body and how to throw a punch.

They then practiced the techniques and received feedback from Barber on how to best execute the strategies of breaking a hold. Anna Reid, a nursing freshman, said she liked that the class was only for women.

She said Barber made it comfortable and easy to ask questions.

“It made me more confident that I could (defend myself),” Reid said.

Barber said he wanted to make sure students knew that anywhere they go is only as safe as they make it. He gave the women reminders about locking doors, staying aware of their surroundings and not walking in poorly-lit places at night.

He stressed the fact that they must be responsible for their safety.

“Self-awareness of your surroundings is the most important,” he said. “I can teach them to fight all day long, but unless they properly train every day of their lives, it’s going to be something they forget.”

Barber said teaching participants how to be aware of their surroundings will also help them learn to keep themselves safe.

“If they can easily remember to be aware, then they don’t get put in that situation,” he said.

Barber said he hoped the class taught students basics for defending themselves.

“But if they do find themselves in that situation, then they have a few tools that I was able to show them in such a short time.”

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