Tempe apartment complex hosts self-defense classes for women

A Tempe apartment complex decided to host two free women’s self-defense clinics and safety workshops in response to police reports concerning sexual assault around the ASU campus.

The District on Apache hosted the clinics on Wednesday and Thursday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in its clubhouse. The property manager plans to host several more throughout the year.

Ryan Soderquist, the property manager, said the clinics were open to all women and that they could count as community service hours. He said he wants to host these classes at least once per semester.

“I really think it will be a unique thing to offer people,” he said.

This hands-on class offered women an opportunity to learn how to defend themselves. Psychology sophomore Katja Cunningham said she originally came to the clinic so she could opt out of her crime control final but feels the clinic will be very beneficial to her.

“I wanted to learn more about self-defense, and this clinic will offer me something YouTube videos can’t,” she said.

Instructors from Fight Ready, an alternative martial arts and fitness gym, led the class and demonstrated scenarios and helpful techniques for women who find themselves in a vulnerable situation. After the demonstrations, the participants split into groups of two to practice techniques.

Zig Ziegler, one of the instructors, said his goal was not to teach participants to fight, but how to defend themselves while creating as much distance from themselves and the attacker as possible.

“The goal is not to move the attacker but to move yourself,” he said. “You should never chase your attacker. As soon as you get away, you must call for help."

Ziegler and the other instructors emphasized that leverage is key to controlling one's body as well as the attacker’s. Ziegler also pointed out many common misconceptions about women’s self-defense.

“Kicking your attacker in the groin will not always stop your attacker,” he said. “That will only make them angry, putting the victim in a worse situation."

He said an alternative vulnerable area to strike the attacker is behind the knee.

“Not only will that strike them off balance, it also get you separated,” he said.

Another misconception is that if a woman comes across a suspicious person, she should avoid eye contact and ignore them.

“You need keep your eye on them because ignoring them will not make you invisible,” he said. “Pay attention to your surroundings and keep your eye on them.”

Journalism senior Kaitlyn Carl, who was in charge of public relations for the event, said it would give women the knowledge of what to do if they're put in a situation where they can't call for help.

“If, God forbid, a woman be put in a situation where she needed to defend herself, this class will give her the knowledge to protect herself,” she said.


Reach the reporter at kgrega@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @kelciegrega

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