Self-defense course teaches students how to handle themselves in a fight

Students practice self-defense tactics at the Union Program Council-sponsored self-defense class on Oct. 23, 2017 in the small gym at the Chester E. Peters Recreation Complex. (Regan Tokos | Collegian Media Group)

The Union Program Council hosted a free self-defense course in the Recreation Complex on Monday to help Kansas State students better prepare themselves for dangerous situations.

Joe Wilk, director of the Combative Sports Center in Manhattan, taught the class. Wilk is a black belt in karate with 15 years of teaching experience, and he is trained in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and modern combative tactics with the United States Army.

Wilk said his classes take a unique approach to martial arts and self-defense by focusing on practicality, effectiveness and technique rather than tricks and cool moves.

“It doesn’t have to be pretty,” Wilk said. “If it works, then you did it right.”

Wilk said being able to defend yourself usually means combining a confident attitude with an effective self-defense technique.

Haley Sneed, graduate student in academic advising, was a co-instructor for the course who has been training with Wilk for almost four years. Sneed said she wants to stress the importance of understanding that self-defense isn’t as hard as most people think.

“Anybody can do it,” Sneed said.

Nic Drake, sophomore in business administration, said he found the class educational because now he can handle himself if he would ever “get in a situation like that.”

Michael Tiede, UPC member and senior in mechanical engineering, said the class’s popularity and practicality are the reasons why the class has come back as a recurring event after a successful first attempt in 2017.

“We like to bring events that have a message,” Tiede said. “Based on the feedback from that class through our event surveys, we were like, ‘Yeah, we should definitely do that again.’”