Dove Center holds coed self-defense, personal safety classes

Image composite, St. George News

FEATURE — Self-defense is more than just knowing a few maneuvers. True self-defense includes personal awareness and an expanded understanding of “protection.” That is why, this summer, a new personal safety course seeks to educate individuals and community service providers alike on empowerment-focused safety.

The 16-week course touches on topics like fear, intuition, boundaries, myths, situational advantages, socialization and trauma healing. It is open to anyone in the community, male or female, who is 15 or older.

The course fosters a safe environment for those reevaluating their personal safety and is useful for anyone beginning college, dating again or traveling abroad. However, personal safety benefits individuals from all walks of life.

“I’m not a violent person, but it taught me that it’s OK to protect myself,” Tammie Kartchner, a Utah business owner who took the course last year at Southwest Behavioral Health Center, said. “It taught me to be more aware of my surroundings, but it also empowered me.”

The course was the brainchild of retired Professor Tim Eicher, who built the class for Dixie State University students 25 years ago. With the extensive work of the Personal Safety Coalition, a southern Utah committee of safety service providers, the course is now accessible and affordable to the community at large. Thanks to an Ironman grant, ImagePro Printing donations and many volunteer hours, the original DSU cost of $500 has been reduced to $65 for the summer course.

Why use the term “personal safety” instead of “self-defense”? Class instructors Sasha Trae and Eicher said they feel that personal safety should be holistic in its approach.

“It is neither exclusively book learning nor self-defense training,”  Trae said. “The course is designed to be ‘biopsychosocial,’ meaning it simultaneously strengthens cognitive awareness, social effectiveness and physical self-defense.”

The course includes a classroom and gym component, which are highly complementary.

“You learn from the book what motivates someone to attack you,”Kartchner said. “It’s not just learning how to attack the guy in the red suit — although I think they are always looking for red suit volunteers,” she said, laughing.

The personal safety course meets every Thursday beginning June 4 and ending Sept. 17. To register, please contact the Dove Center Outreach Office at telephone 435-628-1204.

Submitted by: Dove Center | website

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