by Grace Sall
In 2016, aggravated assault accounted for 63.4 percent of violent crimes and rape accounted for 7.7 percent, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Omaha area reported 1,452 cases of assault and 174 rape cases in that same year. Therefore, it is no surprise that many Americans find themselves preparing with self-defense classes to conceal and carry permits for any situation.
These statistics can be jarring for any individual. Many take precautions to ensure safety, and young people are frequently told never walk to their cars alone and to always be aware of their surroundings. But for some, simply being cautious and mindful is not enough. Some Marian girls have even made a point to participate in self-defense classes to better prepare for an unknown situation.
In the 2018 Jan. Network Survey, 74 percent of 133 participants reported that self defense classes could be important to prepare against potential assault. With these statistics in mind, Marian has offered mini-sessions for sophomores during their class seminar held in the fall. Mick Doyle, owner and operator of Mick Doyle’s Kickboxing and Fitness Center located off of 108th and Blondo St., leads this class.
Marian has provided students some lessons about what to do in the event that they are in danger. For many Marian students, this seminar opened their eyes to the importance of learning self defense. Junior Tatum Kuti recalls the seminar from her sophomore year as being incredibly helpful. “It helped knowing that now I know what to do if something bad happens,” Kuti said. She remembers many of her classmates thought the advice from Doyle was beneficial as well. Kuti said she would be interested to learn more about self defense classes in the future.
Some students even make a point to take classes and learn more about self defense. Sophomore Anna Feldman is one of these students. “It’s really important to know how to defend yourself,” Feldman said. Feldman completed taekwondo classes at the Nebraska Academy of Martial Arts and currently is an instructor there. She teaches kids classes of 5 to 11-year-olds and adult classes on Tuesday nights.
Feldman explained that taekwondo is a culmination of self defense moves that can be used to protect yourself. Martial arts, self defense and taekwondo all have the same basis.
“It is scary knowing you might have to use what you’ve learned, but it’s better that being in a situation where you don’t know what to do,” Feldman explained.
With most of the senior class heading off to college in the coming months, these types of classes can become crucial for preparation. Doyle said, “Learning self defense has become very important. Statistically, one in four women attending college will be a victim of some form of sexual assault in their life. Also, going through a reality-based course where the instruction covers operating under extreme duress and stress is the only way to effectively learn self defense.”
Senior Peyton Wagner agrees that a self defense class could be beneficial. “I would love to know how to be better prepared, especially since I’ll be in a lot of unfamiliar places next year,” Wagner said.
Despite the chilling statistics that seem to grow every year, a number of women and men have taken it upon themselves to educate and prepare themselves against assault. “The best self defense is always understanding threats and risks to your safety and not putting yourself in those situations to begin with, but when that is not possible, I would implore them not to lower your ability to defend yourself or make rational decisions by being impaired either through drugs or alcohol,” Doyle said.
“Do not allow yourself to become isolated from the group,” Doyle advises, “And if you are alone, have an ‘exit plan’ in place and let others know who you will be with, when and where.”