I Took A Self-Defense Course and Every Woman Should Too

A couple months ago, I received an email saying that the Salisbury University Police Department (SUPD) was offering a free Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) course to any female students who were interested.

The email immediately sparked my interest and on a whim, I decided to sign up. Despite my busy schedule, I figured this course would be an opportunity to learn some valuable skills in case of an emergency. What I had not considered however, was that this course would completely change my life.


since I was a child, I have had a deeply rooted and (perhaps sometimes irrational) fear of being abducted. I do not know if this is because I am a woman, or if the Stranger Danger classes in elementary school worked a little too well on me, but even as an adult, I find myself overly observant of my surroundings when I am alone and making instinctive judgements about people who pass by. 

The RAD course was taught by four, experienced Salisbury police officers and consisted of four, 3 hour long sessions where they taught us a series of self-defense techniques geared specifically towards women. The officers assured us that we would be naturally better at some moves than others and that if one move did not work for us, they would give us four more to use instead. During the course I learned stances that maximize my power and stability, as well as kicks, punches, blocks, and other techniques to escape being choked, pinned down, or grabbed. 

The final day of the course consisted of 3 scenarios in which each girl had the opportunity to put what she learned to use. Essentially, each of us was geared up in padding and helmets, as was one of the male officers. Then, each girl would enter a room with a female moderator and our “attacker”. Each girl went through the scenarios individually so that it was truly a surprise to each of us and so that we were able to see how we used on techniques under pressure and on a real person (prior to the scenarios we practiced our moves on punching bags). 

The scenarios were an emotional experience, but they were also incredible. I walked out of that class feeling powerful, unstoppable, and on top of the world. Since the course, I still have a fear of abduction but I feel more powerful over the uncertainty. The course showed me that if an emergency arises, I can escape by turning by fear into anger. 


Here are 5 reasons why every woman should take a self-defense course: 1. Empowerment

The feeling you get from knowing you can successfully escape an attacker who is far stronger than you is difficult to describe, the best way to put it is that you feel empowered. During the final scenarios, you really learn to turn your fear into anger and kick butt. Getting to see that not only am I the type of person that can learn self-defense, but that I can use it under pressure gave me a newfound level of confidence that has been life changing. 

2. You Learn Technique > Power

The techniques we learned for escaping grabs and chokeholds had nothing to do with strength. Rather, they were all about being able to remain calm and remembering what to do. Many of these techniques are so effective and easy, that it blew my mind I had gone 22 years without learning them.  For example, when someone grabs your wrists, you can break their hold on you by pushing your wrists up and through where their thumbs are. This is because the thumbs are the weakest fingers and it is physically impossible for the attacker to continue holding onto you when it is your entire arm strength versus their thumb.


3. You Might Have Fun

Prior to this course, I had never taken any sort of boxing, karate, or fighting course before. I was amazed by how much fun I had learning different kicks, punches, blocks, and stances. It actually served as an awesome stress reliever getting to use 80% of my power on a punching bag and just let it all out.

4. You Find Your Strengths

Taking a self-defense course shows you where your personal strengths are. It was so cool to see different girls excelling at kicks, while other girls throwing punching like they were in the boxing ring. Different individuals flourish at different moves, which is why they teach us so many. Despite the fact each of us had our different strengths and weaknesses, every single one of us was able to successfully complete the final scenarios because we tapped into those strengths.

5. You Are Prepared

I end here with the most obvious reason to take a self-defense class, in the case of an emergency you are prepared. Unfortunately, we live in a world where some individuals prey on women. Learning basic self-defense ensures that if, God forbid, you ever find yourself in a situation where you are being attacked, you know what to do. One of the basic principles of the course is drilling techniques into muscle memory. I was amazed to see the way my body naturally knew what to do during the scenarios because of the techniques I learned, even while my mind was still sort of freaking out. Self-defense teaches you to tap into the basic instincts of fight or flight and use them to your advantage.


If you are interested in taking a RAD course, click this link to check out the local classes in your area.

SUPD will be offering another course possibly in May and certainly this summer. The great thing about RAD is that once you take a class and get your booklet signed, you are able to take RAD classes anywhere in the country, for free, for the rest of your life (the course usually costs anywhere from $25-50). 

I am so happy that I followed my gut instinct and signed up for the RAD course and I honestly couldn’t recommend it enough.