Self-defense workshop helps women protect themselves

A college campus can be a dangerous place to walk alone, but some University women are bettering their odds of getting out of harmful situations by learning self defense.

Last night, 14 women gathered in room 314 of the Union for a self-defense workshop to learn the ins and outs of protecting themselves from potential attackers.

Bowling Green Campus Police Sgt. John Shumaker opened the workshop with a synopsis of the activities that were planned and a lecture about the benefits of carrying mace.

Before self-defense techniques were taught, Shumaker emphasized that avoiding dangerous situations is the best policy, but a person also has the absolute right to defend themselves. Shumaker then demonstrated several techniques that taught the women how to get out of uncomfortable social situations, including wristlocks and throat strikes.

The women were paired up and told to practice their new self-defense moves on a partner while Shumaker looked on and made sure their form was correct. During the course of the evening, Shumaker taught how to escape from being pressed against a wall and let the participants hit martial arts pads using the elbow, palm and knee strikes that he taught.

University student Victoria Schroer said she came to the workshop to feel safer.

“I wanted to feel more confident when I’m walking around campus or at parties,” Schroer said. “[I want to be] able to have methods and ways to defend myself.”

Schroer said she felt like the workshop was beneficial.

“I learned practical, easy methods that are really simple to defend myself in any type of situation,” she said.

Fellow workshop participant Julie Hyman said she also feels more confident after the session.

“I feel like I would know what to do if someone attacked me,” Hyman said.

Shumaker said the women who participated in the workshop will be more prepared for dangerous situations, but only if they spend time practicing what they have learned. He encourages all other University women to participate in the other scheduled workshops that will take place today and next Wednesday at 6 p.m.

“You get to learn some skills that you can carry with you the rest of your life,” Shumaker said.