Students learn basic defense methods for safety

Emily Nordquist

Kent State students are not the type to mess with after learning to put their hips into a kick to the groin.

“I can tell you are all in the mood to whack something,” said Pamela J. Hickey, self-defense and karate instructor at Kent State.

The room of mostly female students and staff participated in a free self-defense class last night in the Student Wellness and Recreation Center sponsored by Eta Sigma Gamma, a health education honorary.

Hickey began by teaching defensive techniques that do not require physical superiority for those being attacked. She demonstrated a hard-hitting knee thrust into a safety bag held by a male student taller and heavier than her. She emphasized throwing her weight and using her elbows and knees when hitting.

The class then switched off between hitting and holding the bags. It is also important to learn how to take a hit and keep fighting, Hickey said. She has more than 30 years of martial arts experience and owns a karate center in Stow. She offers a self-defense class at Kent State in the School of Exercise and Leisure.

“I think it is important for everyone to know how to defend themselves,” said Jen Combs, senior human development and family studies major. “When I am walking around campus at night, I would like to feel safer and more confident.”

Senior sociology major Melinda Kitzmiller said she is graduating in May and then moving to Nashville by herself. Her concerns about living in a big city alone brought her to the class.

When Hickey asked the class what they hoped to learn, they wanted to be able to fight off an attacker or disable them long enough to get away. Though Hickey expressed the importance of these things, she then segued into preventive measures.

Studies performed on violent criminals showed they attack people who appear to be less of a challenge. Attackers are less likely to go after someone who shows confidence and awareness by making eye contact and having good posture, Hickey said.

She reviewed four basic personality types: confrontational, assertive, defensive and passive. Passive personalities, described as shy, meek and unlikely to stand up for themselves in work or social situations, were the “perfect victims,” she said.

Hickey then discussed the relevance of personal space when in dangerous situations. Survival space, nine to 12 feet, is essential, especially if the attacker has a weapon. She demonstrated how simple it is to jab someone in intimate, personal or social space, these ranging from touching to a little farther than arms length.

“Since April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, this is important to increase people’s awareness and prepare them to protect themselves in the event of something bad happening,” said Jessica Shreve, graduate student health education and promotion major and Eta Sigma Gamma member.

Her father, Gregory Shreve, is the chairman for the department of Modern and Classical Language and helped sponsor the event, as well as the Women’s Resource Center.

Contact student life reporter Emily Nordquist at [email protected].