Purchase photos

FHSU students learn life-saving skills

4/2/2014

By ELIZABETH GOLDEN

egolden@dailynews.net

The Women's Leadership Project at Fort Hays State University kicked attendees into life-saving situations at the eighth self-defense workshop Saturday.

The free self-defense training workshop was sponsored by WLP, Defensive Tactics Club, Department of Health and Human Performance and Panhellenic Council.

More than 100 students, families and community members attended.

Sadie Lungren, WLP co-coordinator, said she was surprised by the amount of attendees less than 18 years old.

A wide variety of ages were present. Several mothers from Delta Zeta sorority were in attendance because the event coincided with mother's weekend. The majority of the attendees were female, with less than five males in attendance.

Kenton Russell, FHSU faculty member and defensive tactics supervisor, led the event. Russell has been involved in mixed-martial arts training for more than 30 years, notably through his work as an Army officer.

"I grew up in a small town with like three television channels," Russell said. "I used to stay up until 3 a.m. just to watch kung fu. So when I first started college, I took taekwondo. It's just something I always liked."

The three-hour event was based off of a 48-hour self-defense training video. The attendees were divided into three groups, led by students and recent graduates involved in the field.

"A lot of it has to do with confidence," said D.J. Hightower, coach and club president. "Anyone who takes a self-defense class is less likely to be attacked. It's all about confidence and situational awareness."

Russell said students have shared several success stories after attending the class.

"I've had students come up to me weeks or months later and say they were attacked, but because of what I told them, they were able to survive," he said. "If out of all the seminars I ever put on, only one person needs to use the information I taught, it is still all worth it."

Previous attendees have known how to defend themselves against an attacker or know when to avoid suspicious situations, Russell said.

Hightower believes the class also can be beneficial after experiencing a difficult situation.

"We had a pizza guy who was stabbed take the class," he said. "That really helped him out."

Russell, along with approximately 20 staff members, were pleased with the turnout and enjoy continuously hosting the event.

"It comes naturally to us, and we love it," Russell said.

The next self-defense workshop will be in the fall. For more information about WLP activities, email womensleadershipproject@fhsu.edu.