Drew Brown / The Daily Gamecock

USCPD teaches skills, confidence in self-defense classes

Capt. Teena Gooding with the USCPD understands the importance of self-defense, and on campus, she's working to share that knowledge with students in order to help keep them safe.

“It makes you feel empowered,” she said of having a good understanding of self-defense techniques.

Gooding brought USC's self defense program to life. After teaching rape aggression defense classes, she saw a need for shorter events in order to keep people engaged. Her curriculum stemmed from a self-defense class taught at the Blatt P.E. Center. 

Now, she and her counterparts regularly teach self-defense classes to people throughout the Columbia community. They have already taught more than 1,100 people this year. 

At USC, Gooding and her fellow officers from USCPD partner with USC's Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention and Prevention program to teach female USC undergraduate and graduate students self defense techniques and how to maintain control of their minds in high-stress situations. 

Alexis Bertram, a second-year medical student, attended one of Gooding's sessions and appreciated the opportunities it provided.

“I’ve always wanted to take a self-defense class," she said. "This one was just really accessible to the students, so I jumped at the opportunity when I saw it.” 

One of the core aspects instructors focus on in the classes is saying "no." With every move the students make they're required to yell "no" in a loud, aggressive voice. The idea behind this is to intimidate the attacker and to give her confidence when taking physical action to defend herself. 

And many students enjoy the physical aspects of the class. For second-year exercise science student Haley Jones, her favorite part of the class was the work on the mats.

From wrestling on the floor to discussing awareness of one’s surroundings and eye contact, the students left the class with a better idea of what it means to defend themselves. 

These four-hour sessions are generally held once a month at the Strom Thurmond Wellness and Fitness Center. The last workshop of the semester is set for Dec. 1.

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