World Karate Champions Bob and Jill Leiker travel across the country to teach female college students T.A.K.E. self-defense workshops to prevent sexual assault.
Although a self-defense workshop taught by karate champions may sound physical, the goal of the Leikers’s course isn’t to teach young women how to physically fight attackers.
“It isn’t a lesson in martial arts,” Bob said. “It’s about changing the way you think.”
Essentially, T.A.K.E. courses aim to raise awareness. Female college students are among the most vulnerable to become potential rape victims. Bob and Jill want to change that.
“If you’ve never thought about it, you’ll probably do what most people do, which is freeze.” Jill said. “The more prepared you are, the better off you’ll be.”
In under two hours, course participants learn what to do if they are approached from the front, the back or if they are on the ground. Participants also learned where to attack. Bob and Jill emphasized the eyes, nose, throat and groin of an aggressor are sensitive and vulnerable. Poking an attacker in the eyes causes temporary blindness, and a kick in the groin will prevent the attacker from standing upright.
Attacking the throat will seriously disrupt breathing, and a punch in the nose can cause disorientation. These methods can provide the victim a vital moment to run for safety.
A more proactive aspect of the Leikers’ workshop involves preventing rape before needing to throw a single punch. One way is using strength in numbers. The likelihood of being attacked in a group is very low. Another way is to make eye contact with the potential attacker. Rapists tend to use the element of surprise, so if one turns around and lets the attacker know they are aware the attacker is 80 percent less likely to proceed.
“Just letting a scumbag know you see him will scare him off,” Jill said.
If a “scumbag” still advances after being spotted, then she suggests making a “crazy noise,” the loudest, wildest noise one can utter. Doing so will likely gain nearby persons’ attention.
Bob is neutral on the topic of carrying self-defense weapons such as Tasers, mace and handguns.
“I don’t have an opinion about pepper spray,” he said.
However, he believes those who carry weapons should know how to use them.
“Weapon is synonymous with training,” he said.
Despite the course’s serious nature, participants said they enjoyed it.
Sophomore Emalea Black, who attended the event with her sorority sisters, said “Alpha Delta Pi had a great time at the T.A.K.E. Defense workshop. It was a great opportunity to come together with our PanHellenic sisters as well as other women on campus. We really appreciate Sigma Phi Epsilon bringing this workshop UMKC and inviting our chapter to co-sponsor this important event.”