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Activity To Keep Campus Safe By Teaching Self-Defense

Jan. 17, 2014
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt

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students participating in karate lessons
Hapkido instructor Marcus Gillespie, an associate professor of geography at SHSU, instructs students in the Martial Arts of Sam Houston club. —Submitted photos

Update (Jan. 27): Due to potential weather conditions, this event has been rescheduled for Feb. 19, as reflected in the story. The time and location will remain the same.

Sam Houston State University will take campus safety to a whole new level on Feb. 19 when the Student Services division will offer members of the Bearkat and Huntsville communities the opportunity to learn how to defend themselves.

The one-hour self-defense seminar, beginning at 6 p.m. at Bowers Stadium, will include basic techniques taught by Marcus Gillespie, an associate professor of geography who is a fifth Dan Black Belt in Hapkido.

The event demonstrates SHSU’s commitment to maintaining a safe learning environment and is part of ongoing programming designed to keep campus safe, according to Steven Begnaud, Student Activities program coordinator.

“I think it’s important for people to understand that anyone can be targeted for an attack; your chances of being a victim of a violent crime in Texas is about 1 in 245,” Gillespie said.

“One of the ways you can improve your odds is by learning self-defense, and so you should be prepared to deal with common types of grabs and choke holds that an attacker might use,” he said. “This applies to both men and women; just about anybody can escape from a grab if they know how to do it. In most cases, physical size is not that important when defending against an attacker—if you know what to do.

“Unfortunately, many people have never learned these simple techniques and, so, many have become victims of assaults.”

student practicing self defense in attack scenario
Hapkido techniques can be used to fend off an attacker, as demonstrated above by a MASH club member. Gillespie will focus on those techniques during the free self-defense seminar on Jan. 29.

Some of the techniques that will be taught include common grabs and choke holds to escape an attacker and joint locks and strikes that can be used to subdue or incapacitate an attacker.

“These techniques require no specialized training,” Gillespie said. “They are simple and effective; anyone can do them.”

Because the event is being held in recognition of National Self-Defense Awareness Month in January, Student Activities decided to kick it up a notch by attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the most participants in a single class.

In order to do so, SHSU will need more than 2,212 participants for its seminar, Begnaud said.

Participants should arrive by 5:15 p.m. for check-in at the northwest Bowers Stadium entrance for the world record portion of the event.

Comfortable clothing also is recommended.

The seminar is free, and staff participants will be eligible to receive professional development credit through the SHSU Learning Academies. Tables will be set up at the north gate, designated for faculty and staff check-in, for development credit.

Gillespie has studied Hapkido, a form of Korean martial art, since 1996 and began teaching the form in at SHSU in 2002, when he joined the SHSU faculty, and established Martial Arts of Sam Houston, offered through the Recreational Sports department. He is certified through American Institute of Modern Hapkido.

For more information, contact the Student Legal and Mediation Services Office at 936.294.1717.



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