By: Kathleen Woods
Imagine you are walking to your car at night after a class on the Missouri Western campus. As you walk, you are making sure you keep a good pass, stay where there is light and around people if you can. To protect yourself you carry pepper spray and your keys between your fingers to use as a weapon if you need to use them.
As women, if presented with an offender, would pepper spray and your keys be enough to save your life?
In order to give students and the public the opportunity to learn self-defense movements T.A.K.E Defense Training was brought to Missouri Western’s campus. Their moto is, “Power: You have it in you.”
Parents brought their children to practice self-defense in case they were in a situation where moves they learned during this class could help them in the future.
The children were also excited to learn these moves like, Ameris Davis, who was brought by her mom to the self-defense class.
“If we’re in a situation where we need to use it,” Davis said, “the things that we learn today will be helpful.”
After the tragic murder of Ali Kemp, the Ali Kemp Foundation was created. They paired with The Kiwanis Club of St. Joseph, Missouri, to bring T.A.K.E defense training to women in the Saint Joseph and surrounding cities.
Meaghan Simpson, a Kiwanis Board Member, hopes that by taking these self-defense class women can become more confident when put in a situation where these techniques could be useful.
“We hope that this brings them a great deal of confidence and that they feel like they can protect themselves if something dangerous ever does happened to them,” Simpson said. “That they are more aware of their surroundings and that they have the things that they need to protect themselves.”
This event took place in the Griffon Sports Complex on Saturday, April 6. The event was free for all to attend as long as you were age twelve and up, but pre-registration was encouraged.
Doors opened at 9 a.m. for late registration and to pick up a t-shirt. The self-defense class started at 10 a.m. and ended at noon. Donations were welcomed to support The Ali Kemp Foundation and the Kiwanis Club of Saint Joseph.
At this event they were also collecting personal items for the local YWCA Women’s Shelter.
Jennifer Burns, an attendee, says that having events like these helps women to re-educate themselves on defense moves they may have forgotten.
“I think it’s something that if you do repeatedly, you kind of learn those skills a little bit better. So you’re a little bit safer,” Burns said. “It’s always a good idea for us women to be alert and aware of our situation and our surroundings.”
This is an annual event that occurs every year around April. Everyone is free to attend as long as you are of age and more Missouri Western students are encouraged to join next year to learn how to protect themselves and be better aware of their surroundings.