Dublin Villager

Dublin high schools

Police say self-defense class has many benefits

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Twice a year a few Dublin Police officers take quite a beating at the hands of high school girls.

The day is the culmination of a weeklong self-defense class taught to Dublin high school girls during physical education.

The last session for the 2013-14 school year wrapped up earlier this month.

"They go through real scenarios on the last day," said Officer Jason Murphy, the school resource officer at Karrer Middle School who began teaching self-defense to high school girls in 1997.

It all began when a group of girls approached him and asked him for self-defense lessons as college approached.

"They were scared to death about being there and not knowing how to protect themselves," Murphy said.

The first lesson lasted for three hours, but eventually got mixed into physical education classes at Coffman, Jerome and Scioto high schools.

"For the last four or five years we've been doing it in five days," Murphy said, noting police officers also do self-defense lessons for corporations and community groups by request.

"This week we've gotten four requests from people in the community for it."

The first day of the course is classroom work.

"We teach them how to not be an easy target," Murphy said.

"That's 90 percent of it. If we could keep you from the situation where you never have to protect yourself that would be best."

In the event that someone is attacked, the next three days of the self-defense course focus on defensive moves with kicks, jabs, elbows and knees. Take downs and submission moves are also in the curriculum.

"The majority of kids have never been in a real altercation," Murphy said.

After teaching different moves, the girls get a chance to use them on the officers.

"We push them to be verbal and shout out," Murphy said. "They learn that they can win and get away."

The final day of the course is tough on officers even though they wear padding and are trained to take a hit.

"We teach them kicks that would blow out people's knees," Murphy said.

"It's brutal. I measured it and lost six pounds in one day."

The pain, Murphy said, it worth it, though.

"If they've experienced a fight or attack, they might not have that mental freeze up," he said.

"They'll be able to act and respond. Once you've fought and gotten away, it'll be easier the next time.

"The ability to give the girls confidence to me has been rewarding ... . They come in thinking 'I can't fight a guy who's 100 pounds heavier than I am,' " Murphy said.

"We teach them that no matter who you are, you can win. It's the mindset.

"We give them the tools and the ability to do that."

Murphy said girls often leave lessons holding their heads high and showing more confidence.

"They don't want to hurt anyone, but we tell them this isn't someone who's still your buddy," he said.

"This is someone who's trying to hurt you. If you're in that situation, you have to do what you can to survive.

"We tell them to bite and scratch," Murphy said.

"It may be bloody and gross, but if you can survive that's what you've got to do."

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