The Daily Does: Taking on self-defense


Courtesy of Melissa Till.

The Iowa State Police Department held a self-defense training class at the Wallace-Wilson residence halls.

Alison Boysen

Taking self-defense classes is something I’ve always wanted to do. So I did.

Last Tuesday, there was an opportunity to participate in a self-defense class taught by Officer Dustin King from the Iowa State Police Department in the Wallace-Wilson projector room.

Self-defense classes can give a person the ability to save lives, prevent harm and stop a bad situation that could possibly become worse. 

The majority of the class was made up of women, but there were a few men in the group as well.

The actual group to attend the class was found to be accurate with society’s average, according to Stop the Street Harassment (SSH). The website states that women are more concerned they will be attacked than men are. SSH states that 45 percent of women report they do not feel safe walking alone to their homes, compared to 27 percent of men.

King introduced himself to the group and delivered tips for campus safety. The tips included not walking home alone at night, carrying pepper spray, having your phone out and more.

But maybe you don’t want to wait for SafeRide. Maybe you forgot your pepper spray. Maybe it’s just a short walk. We all have our reasons for wanting to learn basic self-defense, and these are some of mine:

After King presented campus safety tips, I was excited to start the basic physical maneuvers that we were shown, like how to make it harder for someone to bend your arm, how to keep an attacker from invading your space and much more such as keeping your fingers splayed and bending your arms at an 120-degree angle.

We then learned a combat stance that kept our dominant hand back near our face, our other hand out with the elbow slightly bent, our knees crouched and our feet shuffling. Then, holding your hand this way and striking from your hips can help to protect yourself in a life-or-death situation.

When you’re in this position and moving, you kind of feel like an avatar in a combat video game.

Next came the punching bags, which served to teach us strikes that we could execute on perpetrators. There is something liberating about hitting a bag that you imagine to be an attacker, and knowing that in a real-life situation, it’s possible to overcome that danger.

Even though the class just taught some basic techniques to get out of a bad situation, I feel better knowing that I can protect myself.

What I find frustrating is that I shouldn’t have to feel scared just walking a couple blocks.

I shouldn’t have to fear being assaulted or harassed, but acts such as these are common in today’s society. People have to be prepared, and I did that by taking this class. Just because I know these techniques, I’m not guaranteed safety when being attacked by a stranger. What it means, however, is that I can be more prepared. 

“It’s that will to live,” King said.