As part of their commitment to serve the students at Texas A&M, the University Police Community Service Division is hosting free four-hour women’s self-defense courses throughout the year.
This fall, the class will take place on Sept. 17, Oct. 15 and Nov. 6 and will also be offered three more times in the spring on dates that have not yet been determined. Each class will be held from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the University Police Department. The September class is full, but there are still spots available for the October and November courses.
Lieutenant Bobby Richardson, the University Police Department Community Service Division supervisor, has been heading the program for three years, focusing on offering the best class possible to help students defend themselves.
“Our overall goal is to keep students safe,” Richardson said. “We want them to be aware of their surroundings, take care of themselves, and if they are in a situation where they have to defend themselves, have the knowledge and skills available to defend themselves.”
Each class covers personal safety, hands-on instruction of defense techniques specifically for women and a controlled fight situation where they get to use their new skills twice against an officer wearing a padded suit.
“The first time, their body is trying to think, their mind is trying to think, they can't make decisions,” UPD Crime Prevention Specialist Kristi Hosea said. “Then the second time, they’ve had a chance to see how everyone else does the techniques, and then they get to do it a second time and they feel so much more empowered that they can defend themselves.”
During each course, officers teach their students a range of moves, including kicks, blocks and awareness tactics.
“The best part is, you can figure out what works for you,” UPD Crime Prevention Specialist Dee Donovan-Murph said. “Some people are stronger with their arms or their legs, and this is an opportunity to practice that and figure that out in a safe environment. It’s what works best for them so that they are able to put that to use in a situation where it’s needed.”
Even after attending a self-defense course, UPD officers suggest taking other self-defense classes, doing refresher courses with the police department or signing up for the kinesiology self-defense classes to keep the new skills in use.
“There’s no one-stop-shop,” Hosea said. “Take other classes and figure out what works best for you and then hold onto that skill. The Health and Kinesiology’s 199 and 198 classes are fabulous. They teach them many more skills and cover a lot more bases.”
The UPD also offers general self-defense classes throughout the school year for all students, and upon request for student organization meetings or other small groups.
“It may save your life,” Richardson said. “We talk about other ways of trying to talk your way out of it, distraction techniques and things like that, but if it comes down that if you're in a situation that you need to defend yourself, we want you to have the knowledge and confidence to defend yourself and get out of that situation to keep yourself safe.”
Students can view the UPD Twitter and Facebook pages to find announcements about upcoming classes or contact the police department to schedule a student organization class. To sign up for one of the women’s self defense courses, visit https://studentlife.tamu.edu/hp/updwsd/.