Students learn self-defense mentality

IUS Horizon

Monica Wise, IUS Police sergeant, said the most important part of self-defense and personal safety is maintaining a survival mentality.

Wise taught a self-defense class in Hoosier Room West on Thursday, Jan. 17. During the class, Wise said the best way to maintain a survival mindset is to pay attention.

Monica Wise, IUS Police sergeant, demonstrates a technique to disable criminals with participant Alley Denney, elementary education junior. Wise led a self-defense class in the Hoosier Room West Thursday, Jan. 17. Wise taught participants techniques to fend off an attacker as well as, tips on how to avoid being attacked.

“Your best defense is awareness of your surroundings,” she said.

Wise said it is important to know where the exits are located in buildings and to have a plan of escape in case of an emergency.

She said that criminals can pick up on nonverbal communication and use these nonverbal cues to choose their next victims. Wise encouraged participants to walk with purpose and focus on maintaining healthy self-esteem.

Wise said that using a cellphone while walking through a parking lot is one common example of being unaware of potential dangers. She said criminals look for victims that are distracted.

She also said intuition can present itself in several ways such as a nagging feeling, anxious feelings, hunches, doubts, suspicions, gut feelings, hesitation or fears.

Monica Wise, IUS Police sergeant, and Travis Huntley, IUS Police officer, demonstrate how to escape from being choked.

Wise encouraged participants to raise their level of awareness during daily interactions. She said that criminals use a variety of tactics to gain trust such as faking a weakness or injury, posing as an authority figure, offering an unrequested promise and imposing help on someone.

“A charming smile can mask true intentions,” Wise said. “People can use niceness to manipulate you.”

Wise demonstrated physical self-defense tactics during the class.
“Self-defense is not about martial arts. It’s about a mindset,” Wise said. “Give yourself permission to do whatever it takes to survive.”

Wise emphasized the use of lower body strength in her demonstrations. She said women tend to have weaker upper bodies and stronger lower bodies.

She said she suggests people use an open-palm strike instead of a punch.

Wise said that it can be easy for people to break their hands if they do not know how to properly throw a punch.

Wise said some of the most effective physical self-defense tactics are gouging eyes, tearing ears and scraping heels down the shin. Wise said these tactics allow the victim to distract the criminal long enough to escape.

Kate Malambri, an IU graduate, said she attended the class because she thinks self-defense is something everyone should know about.

She said she lives alone and works late, and the self-defense class could be useful.

“You never know when it could save your life,” Malambri said.

Monica Wise, IUS Police sergeant, demonstrates an open-palm strike with IUS Police officer Travis Huntley while Kate Malambri, IU graduate, observes.

Wise said victims should never give up. She said even if victims could get injured trying to escape, they should still try to flee.

“You need to tell your brain, ‘I’m going to get hurt,’” Wise said. “That’s how you prepare yourself for flight or fight.”

Wise said victims should do everything in their power to stop criminals from taking them to a second location. She said criminals usually take victims to a second, secluded location to kill them.

Amber Pound, elementary education senior, said she feels safer after attending the class.

“Now I feel like I know how to deal with different situations,” Pound said.

Wise said it is impossible to give specific instructions about how to respond in different situations. She said everyone responds differently under stress, and everyone has different limitations.

“The survival mindset is about having knowledge and having the attitude of wanting to survive.”

Charles Edelen, IUS chief of police, said victims of crime on campus can call the IUS Police at 812-941-2400.

He said students recovering from crime-related trauma can contact IUS personal counselor Michael Day at 812-941-2244.

Wise will teach another self-defense class on Jan. 30 in Hoosier Room West from 3-5 p.m.

During the first hour, Wise will lecture about safety techniques and maintaining a survival mindset. She will demonstrate physical self-defense tactics during the second hour.