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Davis Journal

Self defense courses teach women and girls how to react when threatened

Jul 12, 2022 11:11AM ● By Kerry Angelbuer

Established in 1989, RAD (Rape-Aggression-Defense) systems of self defense were created by a former Marine and police officer who worked with his mother to design accessible, effective methods of being safe, warning potential attackers, escaping and defending oneself when necessary. RAD systems has currently certified 11,000 instructors who have taught self defense to over 900,000 students. The moves are designed to use a woman’s strength in her center including her hips. Students are taught to take a wide, firm stance putting their dominant side near attack targets. Julie Checketts and Jessica Soto have each certified in various RAD programs and are offering a self defense course at the beginning of July for Women and Girls from 5-105. The $50 fee covers three, three-hour courses taught at the Woods Cross Public Works Building, 2287 S. 1200 West. 

The instructors have been friends since childhood and their training included three full days with a night class where they defend against a slew of different attackers. On top of this basic class, they also did simulation training, RAD for men, Key Chain defense, and an advanced women’s course. They take courses each year and plan to certify in senior defense next. All this training allows them to teach a diversified class for mild to extreme attacks. Attacks can be tailored for all ages and body types. Together they create a fun learning environment where their memorized mission statement can be implemented: To develop and enhance the options of self defense, so they may become viable considerations to the woman who is attacked.

Lindsay Kelsey is taking the class with her 14-year-old daughter Molly.“She (Molly) is going to start high school soon and its important to learn self-defense,” said Kelsey. “She likes to go shopping with her friends and you never know when something could happen. And either way, it’s just a good skill to know how to be loud and fend off someone that you don’t want in your space.” 

The first class is more instruction than practice, said Checketts. “Ninety percent of self-defense is education.” Initially the class covers risk reduction, awareness, and avoidance. “Being aware of your surroundings, for example, since our neck moves our head, it’s helpful if we can put our phones in our pockets when we’re out.” 

The instructors also discuss social media and how to avoid getting drawn in by adult stalkers pretending to be age mates. “Don’t friend anyone you haven’t met in person,” Checketts said.

If precautions don’t stop an attack, the first thing to try is to run fast and escape while yelling to attract attention. Yelling comes from the diaphragm, while screaming comes from the throat and cuts off breathing. The loudness shocks attackers who are looking for more quiet, compliant victims. Crying and begging feeds into their power needs, but yelling makes them worry about drawing attention and getting caught. 

“There are three things that we teach here,” said Checketts. “No one has the right to hurt me, and I don’t have the right to hurt anyone else including myself (cutting, suicide). If someone is trying to hurt me then I can stop them.” 

The goal is not to hurt attackers unless it is necessary to escape and run. They also stress telling someone over and over if you are attacked until someone believes you. “Reporting of rape in Utah is pretty low at about 26%,” she said. “Each class they have someone who has survived an attack and it is really cool to see them take their power back and not be scared anymore. That may have happened in the past, but it’s not gonna happen again.” 

The next set of classes will be held Aug. 5, 6, 13. For more information or to sign up, email the instructors at [email protected] or visit λ