Phi Sigma Pi hosts self-defense demonstration by kung fu club in the Kiva

Denise Wright

Green Dragon Kung Fu member Karen Faulkner successfully takes down Mike Massey. The Kung Fu group presented a self-defense lesson sponsored by Phi Sigma Pi last night in the Kiva. SAM TWAREK | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: DKS Editors

Before last night’s self-defense demonstration by the Green Dragon Kung Fu Club, senior English major Rachel Sanders yelled out, “I’m excited to learn some kung fu!” from the audience.

Sanders was one of about 40 students who attended the demonstration in the Kiva last night.

The demonstration was hosted by Phi Sigma Pi.

“We feel it’s important to educate students on self-defense, especially after recent events,” said Lyndsay Elliott, junior public relations major and public relations director for Phi Sigma Pi, referring to last week’s alleged sexual assault that prompted a FlashLine message from the Kent State Police Department.

More than a dozen members of the kung fu club were on hand to demonstrate techniques.

Before the demonstration, John Allen, a Kent State alumnus and founder of the club, took the time to teach students the basics of self-defense.

“We normally don’t talk about self-defense because there is no such thing,” he said. “During an attack, you need to go on the offense.”

Allen also talked about other programs that claim to have a “secret technique” that will work in any situation, but he said such programs are inefficient.

Allen said there is no one move that will work for everyone because these moves require both solid training and physical strength.

To demonstrate, Allen showed a “secret technique” known as a wrist release, in which the victim would simply turn their wrist clockwise in one rapid movement.

After showing the technique, Allen had students partner with members of the kung fu club and try this “guaranteed” move on the stronger, more experienced members. Not surprisingly, students found this move to be ineffective.

“No move will protect you against a strong, determined person if you do not have physical strength,” Allen said. “Why would we have weightlifting or a 300-pound offensive line if strength wasn’t important?”

Allen said another important factor in protecting one’s self is quick reflexes.

“If you have to think about (your next move), it’s too late,” Allen said.

As a standard measurement, Allen said one should be able to react within half a second or less, otherwise they are taking too long.

Allen also addressed common misconceptions people may have, such as men backing down after a hit to the groin or a throat chop. He said no determined attacker will hesitate, even if these moves are used.

Allen gave a prime example of a move that would work to stop an attacker.

“Go for the eyes,” he said. “Nobody wants to be blinded.”

Allen said this is great because attackers will often leave their victims hands free. He said it also works well because it takes no strength, “especially if you have fingernails.”

After shedding some light on self-protection, Allen invited the members of the club to the stage for a half-hour demonstration. The demonstration consisted of many shorter segments in which individual moves were shown.

Marge Smith, co-director for Green Dragon Kung Fu Productions, said about half of the group’s 25 members were on hand to demonstrate the techniques.

Smith said it is especially important to learn techniques like these because “you don’t know what the next moment of your life will be like.”

“These situations happen more than you think,” she said.

Kate Mileti, senior interior design major and president of Phi Sigma Pi, said she feels their goal of educating students was met.

“With the success we had tonight, we would consider doing something like this either next semester or next year,” she said.

Contact honors and international affairs reporter Denise Wright at [email protected].