Aug 302004
 
Authors: Amy Hochevar

While television shows focus on dark alleys as places of

violence, Dan Wilkewitz believes violence can happen anywhere and

that people need to know how to protect themselves.

“The most important self-defense skill is awareness,” said

Wilkewitz, owner and instructor at the Chung Fu-do School, 4103 S.

Mason. Chung Fu-do means inner truth way.

In a dangerous situation, Wilkewitz advises people to step back,

put their hands up and say “back off.” If this fails, take

action.

“Block a grab or punch, strike the nose, strike the groin or

abdomen, stomp on their foot,” he said.

Wilkewitz, 35, has studied the art of karate for 20 years and

has earned his fourth-degree black belt.

The purpose of his karate school is practical self-defense and

personal growth. The school’s students learn to overcome their

fears and grow as people.

“Martial arts is not like self-defense. Martial arts takes years

to learn,” Wilkewitz said. “Self-defense teaches you the basics; it

is based on natural movements.”

Wilkewitz and his wife, Robin, 39, have provided a self-defense

course for women in Fort Collins for 11 years and have had more

1,000 women participate. They find it to be a very powerful tool in

everyday lives.

“This course definitely teaches you everyday motions to help you

protect yourself in situations,” Robin said. “It educates women

with what’s really out there. It trains them over and over. It

trains a response in them and gives them permission to be loud and

stand up for themselves.”

The course is offered on Sept. 23, 24 and 25 and is free to

those who reserve a spot. Robin said that even after 11 years, the

course is still productive.

“These women are beating the odds,” Robin said. “We see change

in them as human beings – seeing inner strength in themselves they

never knew they had.”

CSU also has options for students. Campus Recreation offers

various martial arts instructional classes. All classes range from

$20 to $70 for CSU students. It has classes ranging from Karate-Do

to Shobudo Bujitsu Jujitsu. It offers different class levels for

beginners, intermediates and advanced levels of training.

Terra Kennedy, a junior theatre major, used to feel vulnerable

until her father requested that she take a self-defense class. Now,

after practicing the art of Shorin-Ryu Karate for nine years, she

has a certain peace of mind.

Kennedy has not been through any type of situation that requires

her to use her skills, but she is convinced that if she were in

such a situation she would be able to overcome anything. Kennedy

advises others to go to the Student Recreation Center and take the

martial arts classes it offers.

CSU Cpl. Officer Veronica Olivas instructs a women’s

self-defense class from 7 to 9 p.m. on Oct. 26. The class discusses

issues of defense against crime, sexual assault and date-rape

drugs. While sign-up is urged, the course is free to students.

“Most people have a sixth sense, but don’t do anything about

it,” Olivas said. “I am a firm believer in doing something to

remove or reduce the opportunity of someone victimizing us. You

shouldn’t neglect getting knowledge to keep yourself safe.”

“It is better to be safe than sorry,” she said.

As a student, Kennedy agreed that people taking a class can

really make a difference in how they approach dangerous

situations.

“It gave a lot of confidence that I know now I can take care of

myself,” Kennedy said. “When you are confident you feel that you

are not vulnerable and people won’t victimize you.”

In 1985, the Quinsey and Upfold report found that verbal

resistance stops half of attempted assaults; Wilkewitz and his wife

still believe the report provides a valuable resistance lesson.

“As soon as you notice something is wrong, do something. Get

very verbal, very fast,” Robin said. “Fifty percent of the time it

would stop if you would be loud. Be verbal and physical, push back.

It helps more.”

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