Staff Council receives self-defense advice

March 30, 2010
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Several UCCS classified staff members recently got to punch and kick Steve Linhart.

Linhart, director, Emergency Management and Judicial Affairs, was conducting a self-defense demonstration with the group, and suffered no injuries in his quest to promote the Public Safety Department’s Rape Aggression Defense class April 23-25 and to share self-defense tips.

Linhart began working at UCCS as a campus police officer, and has continued working on campus in other positions over the years. He continued his ties to the Public Safety Department as a RAD instructor and currently as Emergency Management director. Assisted by Corporal Marc Pino of the campus police, Linhart shared his experience in self-defense techniques with the Staff Council audience.

“Don’t become a victim,” he told the group, explaining how awareness is the first step in protecting oneself. “Being alert and aware of your surroundings is always your best defense,” Linhart said.

Awareness, recognition and avoidance of potential risks are keys to personal safety, along with common sense and anticipating possible threats.

If a dark, isolated area has places for a thief or attacker to hide, it isn’t a good idea to be there, Linhart said. We live in a time when energy conservation means fewer lights at night. Talking on a cell phone or listening to music through earphones can be lethal distractions under some circumstances,  “so you just have to use your head,” he said.

“And don’t discount an instinct or gut feeling,” Linhart said. “If something looks or feels wrong, even if you don’t know why, you’re better off paying attention to that feeling and avoiding some possible threat.”

Linhart discussed aspects of home security, including lighting, locking doors and windows, and the mistake of leaving spare keys in obvious hiding places. He offered some security tips to use while driving a car, such as locking the doors and avoiding behavior or gestures that could provoke confrontations with other drivers.

“It never hurts to create scenarios in your mind,” he said. “What would I do if a stranger approached me from behind in a parking garage? What do I do if I think I’m being followed?

“If you think about all the possible situations and how you would respond to them, you can be prepared if these things ever happen,” he said.

Linhart concluded his lecture by donning pads and helmet to show some of the basic self-defense moves he and other police teach in the RAD class. He instructed participants to react when he invaded their personal space as an attacker would.  He showed staff how to strike an aggressor hard in the face with a fist backed by a straight arm and as much bodily strength behind it as possible. He recommended yelling while making the strike to generate adrenaline that will increase a body’s strength and speed.

Linhart noted that a kick in the groin, an elbow to the throat or a kick in the shin can disable or distract an attacker long enough for the intended victim to break free and run away. But presence of mind is required, he said. “You must be prepared to take care of yourself.”

He reminded staff that Public Safety will provide campus escorts upon request and about the upcoming RAD class. More information on the class or personal safety is available through the Public Safety Office.

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