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
“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
“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
“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.”