Registration is now open for the quarterly women’s self-defense class held by the Davis Police Department (DPD).
According to Lt. Colleen Turay, the class was scheduled to begin in February but had to be postponed to early March.
“We try to have [the class] four times a year, typically in the evenings,” Turay said. “It’s a 15-hour curriculum and takes five weeks.”
Classes are held one night a week for three hours and cost $25 for the entire series of classes. The day of the week it is held on typically switches to allow interested women to participate despite work or other obligations.
“It is a combination of hands-on training and lectures,” Turay said. “But the majority of the class is spent on physical techniques.”
Typically each class begins with an hour-long presentation and lecture about a particular self-defense-related topic, according to Turay. Participants then break into small groups to discuss self-defense in specific situations, such as while at home or in the car.
“There are women in the class frequently who have been victims of physical or sexual assault,” Turay said. “Sometimes they will share their stories.”
The rest of the class is spent on physical self-defense tactics.
“The last class we go through simulated attacks by aggressors in padded suits,” Turay said. “People don’t have to do it if they don’t want to, but the women who do generally feel surprised by what they are capable of.”
The class also emphasizes risk-reduction techniques such as carrying oneself confidently and legal issues regarding self-defense.
With the recent crime spike in Davis including multiple armed robberies, multiple sexual assault cases and a rape, the class focuses on empowerment and confidence over fear and paranoia.
“We don’t want to make women paranoid,” Turay said. “We want to make them feel empowered in their environment. There are things you can do to protect yourself.”
Classes fill up fast and there are generally 12 to 16 spots depending on the number of instructors. There is a waitlist available.
There are also other self-defense classes available on the UC Davis campus.
According to the Women’s Resource and Research Center website, the Campus Violence Prevention Program (CVPP) unit of the campus police department offers Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) classes focused on self-defense tactics. The WRRC also has a Women’s Self Defense Club to continue the practice of these techniques.
Some UC Davis students have taken self-defense classes in the past and felt that they learned useful skills, such as second-year ecology and evolution major Cassandre Kaplinsky.
“I learned a few simple methods to release my hands from a grip that I didn’t know before and good spots to hit people in,” Kaplinsky said. “I feel more prepared to defend myself.”
MEREDITH STURMER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.