The Police Department at the University of Indianapolis is offering self-defense classes to help students feel safer around campus, Sgt. Dallas Gaines said. Due to the increase in crime around campus, UIndy has begun to promote these classes more than they have in previous years, according to Gaines.
Lt. Brandon Pate said the classes are a resource for both students and staff. Those who attend the classes learn mostly about striking and ground defense. They also learn ways to get away from the situation and how to get up off the ground, he said.
“Each one is scheduled for about two hours,” Pate said. “They go a lot into situational awareness, just knowing how to not put yourself in a bad situation, and then some basic [moves for] if you find yourself in a bad situation, what can you do to create distance.”
These classes are more focused on teaching those who attend about defensive techniques and tools, according to Gaines, and they also teach participants about being aware of their surroundings. He said students and staff can attend as many of these classes as they want, and they are actually encouraged to continue coming to each class, as each one gets more advanced.
“We encourage them to come each time, that way they don’t get lost in the classes … ,” Gaines said. “It’s kind of a stair stepping tier, so if you miss one week we [have] to play catch up a little bit. We do a recap at the beginning of the class of what we covered the last week in case they’ve missed it, but we kind of also make it so that one week doesn’t coincide with the next. So one week we’ll do like stand up where you’re using your hands and knees and kicks and stuff like that, the next week might be grappling, where we’re on the ground doing a little bit of ground fighting or escapes from different holds.”
Self-defense classes increase in effectiveness if students and staff train outside of the classes they attend, Pate said. He said the class is mostly just an introduction to self-defense and outside practice can help with the success of the class.
“ … We know that if you’re more likely to defend yourself, you’re less likely to be attacked,” Pate said. “A lot of the people that look to do harm look for easy targets, so the harder of a target you can make yourself the better you can be. So any sort of learning of situational awareness or self-defense is effective.”
The initiative behind these self-defense classes is mostly to help students be more confident when being on campus, Gaines said. He said that coming to the classes helps UIndy police officers get to know students better and work with them more.
“[These classes are] to give the students confidence, make them feel a little bit more comfortable on campus as far as their safety and awareness … [We] try to make it fun, try to make it light,” Gaines said. “They get to interact with us, the officers. [We’ve] gotten to know a few of them on a first-name basis, and each time we teach a class… we get to see and interact with the students one on one.”
Both Gaines and Pate say they encourage students and staff to come to the self-defense classes. Gaines said practicing what is taught in the class can give them the tools to help keep themselves safe and escape a violent attack.
“If nothing else it’s good exercise, it’s great for fitness, it raises confidence levels,” Pate said. “It’s kind of been shown that if you feel better about yourself then you’ll do better, just in any sort of training. I think [students] should consider it and take it seriously.”