Wednesday, March 30, 2011

R.A.D. Self-Defense

Over the course of the last week I have been taking a self-defense class hosted by a local police department. Is is called Rape Aggression Defense or R.A.D.

This class is for women only. The men you see pictured are both police officers who have been specially trained to teach this course. Women are taught basic self-defense tactics to use in a dangerous situation. The class lasted for 3 hours a night for 4 nights.

The first night we did classroom time. We reviewed a PowerPoint presentation and discussed helpful information to help us become more aware of our surroundings and how to avoid danger.

The second night we focused on Upper Body moves, like punching and blocking. We practiced these over and over to try to train our muscles to remember how to do it. We each got one-on-one time with an instructor to make sure we were using proper technique.

The third night we focused on our Lower Body moves like kicks. We also learned how to handle fighting on the ground.

The last night was basically the final exam. They like to call it "Fight Night." Each student will go into the gymnasium and fight three police officers, all men. They run the student through three scenarios (not all at once) and the student has to fight her way out. I can't tell you how scary it was! But I can tell you that I felt so proud of myself when I punched, kicked, and head-butted my way out of an attack by a Marine!

We were all wearing protective gear, so no one was hurt. They video taped our fights so we could watch ourselves to see our areas of weakness. I had a coach by my side the whole time reminding me what I learned. Even the attackers would remind me of things to help me. In one scenario I was trying to get to the door and one of the attackers, Sy, was punching me and I blocked all of his hits. He finally said yelled, "Jenny! Why aren't you hitting me?" and I said, "Because you told us to avoid a fight! I'm trying to get away!" He said, "I'm hitting you. We're ALREADY fighting." So I punched him really hard in the face and ran away. :)

I would recommended this class to any woman. After just four classes I think differently. I have made small changes that I think will help me be safer and more alert. I went into one of the scariest parts of D.C. today for a pre-employment drug screening. Before R.A.D. I would have been terrified. Instead, I walked down the street looking confident and developing a plan.

Oh, and in case you are a little timid, the youngest student in our class was 12. She was like a little Praying Mantis, all skinny little arms and legs. But she did it!! She was awesome! (She's in the Cookie Monster shirt in the picture.)

To find a course in your area check out their Program Locator.


  1. I'm so glad you decided to take it with me! I didn't know about that conversation with Sy. That's really funny! you did awesome by the way!

  2. Way to go Jenny! That sounds like a smart thing to do!

  3. Jenny, you're one amazing woman! Funny too! I should look into taking a class.



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