Change your mindset with self-defense

Free self-defense class teaches techniques and self-confidence.

Lydia Hansen, Reporter

Individuals identifying as women and transfeminine can learn self-defense techniques at a new class offered by Hamline Public Safety. The class teaches techniques based on Krav Maga, an Israeli self-defense form combining techniques from boxing, wrestling, Aikido and other disciplines.

Weekly classes are led by Todd Jones, Associate Director of Public Safety. Jones started learning Krav Maga five years ago and has been an instructor for the last three years. He describes the class as a way to learn appropriate ways to react to potentially dangerous situations.

“It’s to change your mindset from being a victim to being a survivor,” Jones said. “It pushes you to be more comfortable to hit someone in self-defense.”

The class will cover hand-to-hand and weapon defense, defending against attacks from behind and striking, as well as situational awareness. Jones hopes to add ground assault defense later in the semester once there are mats to use for the floor.

“Krav Maga is used for pretty much any situation where you’re alone and someone tries to take advantage of that,” Jones said. “You learn situational awareness to build confidence. It teaches you to throw punches and kicks more efficiently so you don’t hurt yourself.”

Jones started teaching Krav Maga on campus last fall when two staff members approached him wanting to learn some techniques. He expanded that training this spring to offer free training opportunities for students, staff and faculty.

“We have a good time, we joke around,” Jones said of the class environment, which is currently a small group. “It’s definitely not judge-y.”

Emelie Mohammed, one of the original participants in the class and a staff member at the Career Development Center, said the class helped boost her confidence.

“One of the great things about Krav Maga for me… is that you don’t have to be a super big, super strong person to kick butt,” Mohammed said in an email interview. “You just need the right technique.”

Mohammed has since taken a break from the class, although she hopes to return when her schedule allows. She encouraged others to give the class a try, regardless of their experience level.

“There are definitely parts to it that are helpful to do consecutively, but the way it was being taught was very much a ‘jump in where you can’ class,” Mohammed said. “I would say that at very least you should try one or two classes and see how you feel about it.”

Sophomore Anna Cuebas started taking Krav Maga last fall after she started working at Hamline Public Safety. Although the self-defense training is required for all officers, Cuebas said it has been beneficial for her personal life as well.

“Knowing what I know now, it’s nice to feel comfortable being able to walk out in public after dark and knowing I’d be able to defend myself,” Cuebas said. “I think that as a woman it’s super important to know, especially in college.”

The class is currently taught weekly on Thursdays from 5 to 6 p.m. at Walker 034 in the group exercise room. Classes are free and open to students, staff and faculty of all experience levels. For more information, contact Todd Jones at 651-523-2148 or