The Union Program Council and the Kansas State Police Department hosted a self-defense class and campus safety presentation Monday evening at the Chester E. Peters Recreation Complex, teaching students new ways to be prepared for an attack on campus.
Joe Wilk, instructor at the Combative Sports Center in Manhattan, taught the class with Kelsey Finke, a 2009 K-State graduate. The class was taught in two sessions, one at 6 p.m. and one at 7:45 p.m. Between the sessions, K-State Police officer Scott Jacobs spoke to students about how to keep themselves and their belongings safe.
“The primary [type of activity] we have is theft,” Jacobs said.
In the last three weeks, several bicycles have been stolen, Jacobs said.
Wilk has been involved in mixed martial arts and self-defense instruction for more than 10 years. Among his students at the Combative Sports Center are members of law enforcement and soldiers at Fort Riley.
“I think that self-defense, especially in 2017, is super important,” Wilk said. “The thing about self-defense is that it’s up to the people to start. It’s up to you to get your foot in the door. It’s a good tool for everyone to have because you never know.”
The idea for the class was brought to the attention of the UPC over the summer. Michael Tiede, senior in mechanical engineering, and Kathleen DelaCruz, junior in family studies, said it took about a month to plan the class. Tiede said it was the first time the UPC had hosted an event like this in a while.
“It’d be something that I think would be beneficial if we offered it each semester,” Tiede said.
Monday’s class was a condensed version of the course taught by Wilk at the Combative Sports Center. Wilk emphasized the importance of using distance as an advantage, maintaining a four-foot distance from the other person in the confrontation. Students also learned how to block advances, break free and disable assailants.
“I think it was definitely helpful,” Aubrey Smith, junior in civil engineering, said. “I hadn’t really thought about someone coming up to me from the front with the conversation-type of fight, so that was a good perspective. If that ever happens, I’ll be able to use that information and go from there.”
Smith said she saw an email about the event from the UPC, and began taking classes at 9 Round Fitness and Kickboxing.
Laura Apel, senior in hospitality management, said she appreciated the class’s focus.
“It was nice to just learn a few little moves, instead of a hundred moves, and being able to show them little things like being able to guard yourself and get away from the situation instead of going into the fight,” Apel said.