Self-defense class teaches evasion tactics

January 28, 2010

by Jessica Cassels

Tech women are taking aim against being a victim thanks to the empowering knowledge gained from attending a self-defense class Jan. 20 in the Maxie Lambright Intramural Center.

John Blunschi, an instructor at Gracie Jiu-Jitsu of West Monroe, led the self-defense class Jan. 20, teaching women how to defend themselves in real life situations.

Hannah Pixley, a junior elementary education major, said she does not think women are informed enough about those who are looking to harm them.

“John gave startling statistics about abuse that I would have never expected,” Pixley said. “With this knowledge under my belt, I feel that I can be more cautious of my surroundings.”

Pixley said after leaving a one-hour class she was very informed.

“I felt that I had already gained a good bit of confidence,” Pixley said. “If I had enough time I would absolutely take classes. I gained a new knowledge about those who are looking to attack victims.”

Pixley said the moves taught were new to her even though she had attended another self-defense class.

“I had never seen most of the techniques that were being taught,” Pixley said. “But with practice I think they could be very effective.”

Blunschi said his goal was to bring more awareness to the women who attended the self-defense class.

“The No. 1 idea is self-confidence,” Blunschi said. “So many women seek refuge in numbers but are looking for their own identity. I just want them to be fit and have knowledge of self-defense.”

Blunschi said he wants other people to be involved in jiu-jitsu, even if he is not.

“I have a 10-year-old daughter,” Blunschi said. “So, I hope there would be someone to reach out to my child, express the dangers and make her aware of what could happen.”

Elizabeth Snyder, a junior nursing major, said she has attended several self-defense classes before, but this one was different.

“He gave us useful information that can actually be applied to life,” Snyder said. “The class spoke personally to me, being a young woman because I have been a victim [of assault] before,” Synder said.

Synder said the statistics given by John allowed young women to know more than just the number of victims.

“Knowing statistics coupled with a few defense moves gives young women the ability to stand up for themselves,” Snyder said.

Brooke Conly, a freshman marketing major, said this was her first self-defense class.

She said attending the class made her understand that she would not know what to do in a situation where she could be attacked.

“It made me think about everything and want to know more ways to protect myself in case I ever needed to,” Conly said.

Conly said it is a great idea for women to attend a self-defense class at some point in their life.

“After listening to John, it makes me sad that more women don’t know some important moves to escape an attacker,” Conly said.

“If we all knew a few ways to defend ourselves, that would help put a stop to attacks on unexpected women.”

Conly also said when she heard about the assault on campus the night the class was held, she hoped that the girl had attended a self-defense class.

“Hearing about the attack made me feel more confident in that I now know how I could have handled a situation like that,” Conly said. “It was also a reality check that an attack is definitely something real and could happen to anyone.”