Self-defense courses provide enjoyable elective

Louisville senior Desmond Hutchison and Scottsville sophomore William Berry do triangle-hold exercises during their self-defense class. Hutchison took the class to fill a senior credit requirement and thought it would also be beneficial. Jake Pope/HERALD

Whitney Allen

When walking into the multi-purpose room of the Preston Center and seeing students using defense techniques to defend against bear hugs and ground fighting, one can see that this isn’t a conventional classroom setting. 

Self-defense courses are offered, both semesters, for men and women.

Andy Wright, instructor for the course, has taught self defense for men for the past two years.

Some students take the course with no prior experience, while others have had experience with jiu jitsu or karate.

“Some do (have experience), not just karate but other marital arts also. Others don’t,” Wright said. “If you have prior experience in martial arts, it’s fine. If you don’t, that’s fine too.”

Russian junior Oleg Nesterov had very little experience before taking the course. Nesterov enrolled in the course to fill the elective, but he has enjoyed it.

“It’s actually a lot of fun. It’s a good experience. Definitely,” Nesterov said.

Nesterov said he probably won’t continue with karate or taekwondo after the course.

Wright said some students do continue with martial arts after the course, which is exactly what he did. Wright is a graduate from WKU and became interested in karate and self-defense when he took Karate I for a physical education credit.

Wright went on to become a second degree black belt in karate and taekwondo and a first degree black belt in Japanese jiu jitsu.

In addition to teaching the physical aspects of self defense, Wright also focuses on the philosophical side.

The course teaches the levels of conflict escalation and how to de-escalate a situation.

“The best self defense is when you don’t have to defend yourself. Prevention is the first level,” Wright said.

Whether or not students continue with martial arts after the course, Wright hopes all students will gain confidence after completing the course.

“They ought to be able to feel safe in knowing that they can defend themselves effectively in a variety of situations,” Wright said.