Let’s get RADical


Never did I imagine that I would spend a Thursday evening learning how to flip a vicious attacker off my back.  But on Nov. 12 I did, and in the process, I got to beat up some FAU police officers.

After writing a news story on FAU’s Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) class a few weeks ago, I thought it would be cool to take the class on my own to see what I could learn.  Not only did I find out how to block attacks and defend myself, I also learned how to beat the crap out of anyone who gets too close.

The class began at 6 p.m. in a classroom cleared of its desks and was taught by Office Assistant Harriet Pioquinto, Instructor Donna Darrell,  Lieutenant Tracey Merritt and Sergeant Miguel Cardona of the FAU Police Department.  The doors and windows were blocked off so that no one could see inside.  We stretched as a class for 10 minutes, then started working on defensive moves.

The first activity I practiced was kicking and blocking punches after my attacker had knocked me to the ground.  The key was to keep one palm flat on the ground for leverage.  The other hand was held in front of my body in a defensive stance. 
I practiced kicking my “attacker,” Merritt, in the knees and groin, while he tried to block me.  I also learned how to stand up while keeping my defensive stance.

Another technique, which was taught by Pioquinto, was how to get up when an attacker was pinning me down.  The instructors showed us how to do this on both our backs and stomachs.
“I flipped a guy who was 250 pounds in training,” explained Pioquinto.  “You can definitely do it.”

After the ground-defense exercises, we moved on to specifics, with kicks and punches.  I learned how to block a choke hold, execute a “hammer punch” to the groin, and jab at the eyes with my thumbs.

I think that the most interesting thing I learned in this self-defense class was the fact that it doesn’t matter how strong you are.  You could be tiny and it wouldn’t matter, because, as Darrell (quite petite herself) told me: “It’s all about the element of surprise.”

One thing I was surprised at was how hard these techniques were to learn.  I have to say, by the time we had practiced snap kicks and palm strikes, I was getting tired.  So, I was glad to hear Pioquinto’s voice resounding over the room: “We’ll do bear hugs, he’ll choke me, then we’ll take a break.”

After promising Merritt that I would be back to perfect my sweep kick at the next class at the end of January, I was on my way home.  It was dark outside, but I wasn’t scared, because I knew I’d be able to take down anyone who tried to mess with me.

To find out the dates of future classes, check out www.fau.edu/police/rad.php, where they will be posted shortly.