Women's self-defense course means business

RAD system uses real force to fend off attacks

by Hilary Thomson staff writer

Women faculty, staff and students will have an opportunity to gain self-defense skills in a new program offered by Campus Security in partnership with the university detachment of the RCMP.

Called the Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) system, the two-day comprehensive course covers awareness, risk reduction and physical defense techniques.

"We want to provide women on campus with the knowledge they need to make an educated decision about resistance," says Tom Claxton, a Campus Security officer and one of the program's certified instructors.

Women of all ages and fitness levels are welcome to attend the program that was launched in 1989 by a former police officer and has been taught at more than 450 campuses in the U.S. and Canada.

Claxton wears a special padded suit during his training sessions so that women can practice their defense moves with realistic force. And while he is trained in martial arts, he emphasizes that this is not a martial arts program. Working with Const.Tricia Gagné, he teaches a program of resistance and avoidance strategies in a safe, controlled environment.

A workbook helps participants learn about defensive awareness and psychological deterrents such as confident body language. In addition, they receive a list of community safety resources and are entitled to take free unlimited refresher courses.

"We want to help women take an active role in their own self-defense and psychological well-being," says Claxton who has been with Campus Security since 1991. "This program is about empowering people."

He hopes the program will be a community catalyst that will encourage other departments and student groups to offer RADtraining. The program complements ubc personal safety resources such as the ubc Security Bus, the Alma Mater Society (AMS) SafeWalk program, the Blue Light Emergency Phones and accompanied campus transit offered by Campus Security.

The RAD. program is offered twice this fall, Sept. 30-Oct. 1 and Oct. 14-15, and takes place in the Student Union Building. Each session can accommodate 20 part-icipants.The fee is $20; students pay $10.

The program is offered with the support of the AMS., the Women Students' Office and the Graduate Students Society.

For more information call (604) 328-8093 or 822-8274 or e-mail Claxton at tclaxton@interchange.ubc.ca.

UBC personal security information is listed under Programs at www.safety.ubc.ca.