Limbs flailed and punches flew Tuesday night when more than 20 women learned self defense from a local police officer.
The class, taught by Nicole Sundine of the City of Lone Tree Police Department, was part of a seminar put on by 2 Hearts: The Lacie Jo Miller Foundation.
Wendy Cohen started the foundation three years ago after her daughter, Miller, was kidnapped and murdered by a police impersonator in January 2003. The foundation hopes to use its seminars to help inform women about violence prevention.
Sundine began the class by suggesting harassment scenarios in which women would have to verbally relieve situations. She encourages women to be as direct as they can when they say no.
“If your gut says you don’t like this, you have every right to say what you want,” Sundine said.
The second half of the self-defense class was more physical, as Sundine set up situations with women and one of their friends. She would then ask the audience’s opinion on what they would do next.
Sundine encouraged leg and arm strikes on the assailant’s pressure points. She did not teach specific “moves” because she said in a realistic situation people do whatever they can and knowing specific “moves” does not always help.
“It’s interesting to know that there’s a plan to think about pressure points and stuff,” said Kayla Crowder a senior social work major at CSU and intern for 2 Hearts. “Knowing what catches a person off guard is really empowering.”
Sundine said it is important to wait for an opportunity to strike.
“In most situations where people feel stuck, they panic. They should just wait for an opportunity,” Sundine said.
“Instinct is an actual process once you break it down, it’s not just a feeling,” she continued. “It’s really just super fast thinking.”
Sundine also discussed what to do if a gun is involved in any given situation. In most cases where a gun is involved, the gunman is using the gun so as not to make a scene she said. It is not likely that he will just shoot a person on the street.
The best thing anyone can do, Sundine said, is avoid the barrel of the gun and try to fight off the assailant.
“I enjoyed this class,” Ashley Louisell, a student of 2 Hearts who attended the class, said. “A lot of it is really just common sense, but it helps to think about it.”
The class ended when everyone sat down in a circle and described their favorite part.
“I’d give anything if she could know what you know right now,” Cohen said, referring to her daughter. “It’s really important that you girls learn this stuff.”
Staff writer Ashley Robinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.