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Beat them to the punch with self defense

by Shelby Toth - news editor
Wed, Oct 31st 2018 05:00 pm
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When students come to college, their risk of being attacked or mugged grows. Most students have never had so much freedom or a need to be self-sufficient before, but moving away from home forces them to watch out for themselves. Since college and college nightlife can sometimes lead to attacks or muggings, students can benefit from learning how to defend themselves.

Brockport Student Government (BSG) had this in mind when it chose to host Self Defense, an event aimed at teaching students basic ways to defend themselves. 

“We had a meeting last year, last semester, and we were going through events and we thought [this event] would be really helpful, because self-defense is important,” said Pamela Fenton, an activities coordinator for BSG. “Usually we have more ‘fun’ events, but this was kind of educational and a good thing for people to learn.”

For the event, BSG had Adjunct Brockport Lecturer Don Johnson come in to instruct students who attended the event. Johnson teaches judo at the college, as well as being the faculty advisor for the Judo Club. 

The event started with a brief demonstration about the skills the group would be learning, before moving on to discuss a handout given to the students. The handout went over tips for defending yourself, like using any object you can, striking hard to hurt someone and making sure to hit and scream. The paper also gave self defense tips, like staying alert, making others earn your trust, protecting your drink and not putting yourself in unsafe situations, among other tips. 

After going over the sheet, students started to learn and practice self defense methods. Following a demonstration of each move, Johnson let students try it for themselves. He showed how to get out of a chokehold,  followed by what to do if someone grabs your jacket and around your shoulders, among several other situations.

Johnson spoke to the students afterwards, sharing advice and encouraging them to join judo club if they were interested in learning more.

While the attendance for the event was low, the students there knew the importance of learning the information, including freshman Aya Cohen.

“We’re on a college campus, so we figured it would be a good idea [to attend the event],” Cohen said. “We just want to know how to protect ourselves.”

As previously mentioned, being on a college campus, and having the freedom that comes with that, can mean more potential danger for students. Johnson stressed this, and that students need to be aware of it.

“For the first time in many of the students lives they are unsupervised, which is a good thing,” Johnson said. “It’s how they learn to navigate the world. But just because you’re not in a scripted world anymore, or supervised world, you need self-reliance.”

To Johnson, some students don’t seem to handle that lack of supervision well. If students make sure to stay alert, he believes that’s the best way for those attending college to stay safe.

“The need to be aware of your surroundings, and being aware of what other people’s intents are... you have to learn to navigate in society,” Johnson said.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there were roughly 27,500 “criminal incidents” against both people and property on college campuses reported in 2015, a two percent increase from the previous year. Going off that alone, it’s clear that learning self defense can be valuable. Johnson provided some tips when it comes to staying safe on the streets.

“If you have a weapon, [your attacker] has a weapon…” Johnson said. “...You can keep yourself safe. A weapon can’t. Your friends can keep you safe. A weapon can’t.”

Another piece of advice that Johnson shared might not be something students agree with, but should still keep in mind.

“...If you’re planning on going out and being incoherent this weekend, or today, don’t go out and do that,” Johnson said. “Do it in your own home so that you’re not at the mercy of other people while you’re incoherent.”

For those interested in learning more self defense, Judo club meets 7-9 p.m. on Fridays in Cooper Hall. Even if learning the sport isn’t for you, it’s still important to think about the advice given by Johnson and anyone else you’ve talked to. You never know when you or a friend could need it.


brockport.news@gmail.com | @shelbtoth98

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