Fighting back: In face of potential attacks, students learn to defend themselves
Emily Koehler, a psychology and social work sophomore, and Gavin Hoppe, a hospitality business junior, instruct students on how to defend themselves at the “Self-Defense for Women” course.
About 64 crimes causing bodily harm took place in 2011 in East Lansing and at MSU, but many students might not know methods to defend themselves in case of an attack, experts say.
Hospitality business junior Gavin Hoppe, who leads MSU’s “Self-Defense for Women” program, said everyone can benefit from learning self-defense.
“It’s a shame that in this world we live in, there’s a threat of an attack,” Hoppe said. “So it’s important to learn how to defend yourself.”
Although MSU’s free defense session has been primarily focused on women and fighting off sexual assaults, men also can benefit from learning how to protect themselves, said Angela Michael, assistant director of Recreational Sports and Fitness Services.
Hoppe said throwing a punch isn’t the only way to end an attack, assessing the situation and possible reactions also is important.
Palm heel strike: To momentarily stun an attacker, a person can position their hand with their fingers closed together and their fingers, not including the thumb, bent at the first knuckle. With the leg on the same side as the striking hand behind them, the person can swiftly strike their assailant in the bottom of their nose with their palm. With enough force, this can break the assailant’s nose.
Wrist grab release: When an assailant grabs a person’s wrist in an attack, a quick, circular motion of the forearm and wrist in the direction of the assailant’s thumb can free a person and allow them to get away.
Elbow strike: If an attacker comes at a person from behind, they can be momentarily stopped with a quick jab of the elbow right below the assailant’s sternum, or where the ribs meet. Koehler said whenever putting force behind a strike, it is helpful to aim six inches past the intended target.
Psychology and social work sophomore Emily Koehler instructs students on proper self-defense technique as hospitality business junior Gavin Hoppe demonstrates a scenario Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, at Snyder Hall. Students came to the self-defense workshop to learn how to help protect themselves against dangerous situations. Adam Toolin/The State News
Often, a situation can be de-escalated by aggressively saying “No,” and yelling, Michael said.
Psychology and social work sophomore Emily Koehler, who also instructs MSU’s self-defense program, said walking with determination and paying attention, such as leaving one earbud out to listen for suspicious noises, can help deter attacks.
East Lansing Underground Martial Arts Assistant Coach David Strickland said typically, being very aggressive and not showing fear can help deter an attacker.
“Once the mind goes, the body goes pretty quickly,” Strickland said.
Although self-defense is based on a situation and fighting should be avoided unless an attack is taking place, Hoppe and Koehler said there are basic ways for students to defend themselves.