A semester-long class lets students practice defense through different situations
Gennifer Baker, a North Dakota State University Campus Police Officer, is the lead instructor of a self-defense class called R.A.D. available to female students. The one-credit class has been offered for a year now and allows students to learn some basic self-defense techniques in order to protect themselves.
Throughout the semester students get to utilize what Baker referred to as, “Tools for your tool belt.” The self-defense moves students are taught involve using their body including elbow strikes, punches and kicks. There are also lessons about how to get out of a chokehold and a bearhug.
While the first day of the class starts with a PowerPoint discussing risk assessment, the rest of the time allows students to get hands-on experience when trying out different defense moves. Baker also talked about the realistic what-if scenarios that she brings up in class and how to manage them.
“They have to start thinking about what would I do if this happens to me,” Baker said. “The more you think about that ahead of time, the more muscle memory you have about it. So then when you’re in a situation, you have something to fall back on.”
Having muscle memory and thinking about the what-if scenarios helps to avoid panic and freezing if the situations ever occur.
On the last day of the class, students can apply the lessons they’ve learned during a simulation event. Another campus officer comes to the class and runs through three different scenarios that may occur allowing the students to use the various self-defense moves on them.
“Essentially, what we’re teaching them is to do these moves and you’re causing pain so that they let go of you so that you can escape into safety,” Baker said.
Some tips Baker gave on how to be aware of one’s surroundings include paying attention to who and what is nearby. “When you hear stuff, you have to pay attention.”
“Even if I don’t think anyone’s behind me on a sidewalk, I still periodically look behind me, but that’s probably something I’ve trained myself to do in law enforcement,” Baker said when talking about how noticing surroundings is something you have to train yourself to be aware of.
When it comes to sharing locations on social media, Baker said it could pose a risk to the safety of a person, but it depends on whether others actually care enough to notice someone’s location.
“If somebody has a situation where they have somebody that’s stalking them then I would definitely want those people to be more vigilant on what they’re sharing and doing,” Baker said.
For more information about R.A.D. and how to enroll in the course, go to