This past Tuesday, Campus Safety brought their self-defense classes to the residence halls, hoping to help promote the program as part of a series of four classes to be held in Loomis, Slocum, and McHugh Commons. Jon Ramsay, who “wears many hats for campus safety,” talked a little bit about the role that the self-defense classes play at Colorado College.
The first self-defense classes held at the College were started as part of a program called R.A.D. (Rape Aggression, Defense) that the former director of Campus Safety had worked with at another university. At this time, CC “did not offer any type of self-defense class to the community and thought that R.A.D” would be a good fit for the school. Ramsay and another officer took a week-long course in Denver, became certified, and “teamed up with UCCS to get the program started.”
The feedback from participants has been overwhelmingly positive. “They like the fact that it is a walk-in class and that there is no commitment or registration,” said Ramsay. “Students have also said that they like the breakdown of the class. The movements are very easy to learn.” Ramsay compared the self-defense class to “the fire drills we all have to do here on campus. If you’re never trained on how to get out of a house or building that is on fire, then your chances of getting injured (or even killed) in that situation are high,” he said.
Ramsay believes in other benefits of self-defense classes too: “I believe that attending a self-defense class once or twice a week is good training for your mind and for your body,” he said. “Does taking a self-defense class mean that you will survive any and all situations? No, absolutely not! But I feel that it is good to have tools and personal weapons to use if you ever have to defend yourself from an attack or an abduction.”
Ramsay always hears from students that they “feel more prepared to defend themselves after taking the class. We have had students who had never punched anything or been in a fight and felt confident defending themselves after taking our classes.” Some students also became “ambassadors” of the program and told other peers and classmates that they should take the class. “We had students who were so passionate about the program that they became student instructors,” Ramsay said.
The program has also expressed desire to diversify the attendance of the classes. “The majority of our students are female,” said Ramsay, but they’ve also had transgender students attend the class. “We would really like for the community to know that however you identify, you are more than welcome to attend.” Campus Safety also offers private self-defense classes for students who feel more comfortable out of the public setting. “If you are someone who doesn’t want to attend a co-ed class or all female or all male, we can put a class together for you specific to your needs,” he said.
Despite all of the wonderful feedback that the program has received, Ramsay still feels like people across campus and the community don’t know about the classes. “We hope that with a new location in the El Pomar Fitness Center we will get a lot more exposure, and with a 2 p.m. start we hope that students who have labs in the afternoon could still make the class if they want,” said Ramsay.
Above all, they want students to know that the self-defense classes “offer a safe training environment. We work as a team and in pairs,” said Ramsay. “You will never be put on the spot or made fun of if you are not getting or understanding the technique being shown. We are all about community and building each other up.” He also emphasized that “safe training also includes physical safety—we will never make you do something that you are not comfortable with or that will get you or someone else hurt. All of our instructors have been professionally trained and are there to make the class an enjoyable experience for all who attend.”
The CC Tiger Defense Class meets every Tuesday and Thursday, 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room at the gym. Everyone is welcome—no experience needed, no commitment, come and go as you please.