Seventeen CSC women are prepared to defend themselves from verbal and physical threats after Basic Women’s Primal Self Defense class, Saturday, in the Student Center Scottsbluff Room.
The four-hour class, sponsored by Cardinal Key and Xi Delta Zeta, featured instructors Shawn Whittington and Jessi Lee of 88 Tactical in Omaha, an organization that features instruction in everything from self-defense and anti-bullying to bushcraft and survival.
Students were introduced to verbal and physical self defense techniques in three modules, beginning first with verbal approaches to handle and de-escalate threatening situations. Col. Jeff Cooper’s Awareness Color Code Chart, which begins at zero-awareness level white and escalates to decisive action red, was taught alongside the techniques to gauge the danger of situations. Combined with intuition, the three can make for a solid defense.
“Anytime that inner alarm that you all have goes off, you have to listen to it,” Whittington said. “Anytime you feel uncomfortable about any situation or interaction, number one, give yourself permission to listen to it. Number two, evaluate what’s going on. If you need to do something about it, give yourself permission to do that.”
Whittington and Lee also dispelled common self-defense myths and mistakes, emphasizing that a cell phone won’t save your life when it comes down to life and death situations.
Roleplay proved a crucial part to the class, giving students the chance to practice their newly-taught skills in real-life scenarios. From dealing with a verbal confrontation or defending against a violent attack, students were exposed to a range of situations they could encounter in the future.
“If you treat what we’re doing in this room as if it were real, even though it’s not, your brain doesn’t know the difference,” Whittington said. “You’re going to walk out of here having had some real experiences with aggression and violence that if you were involved in a similar situation you’ll have experience to draw upon.”
For some, the class came at a perfect time and gave them the confidence to handle future situations the safest way.
“I’ve had recent experiences that made me very aware of how vulnerable I was,” Ashten Gerbing, junior of Hot Springs, South Dakota, said. “The universe dropped this class on me by email and I was like, ‘Thank you, universe!’ This is something I can use to not be in that position again.”