Confrontational situations can develop at any given time in the places you least expect them. Someone can come up to you with their fists at the ready, a blade to your throat, or even a gun to your back. But what do you do in a situation like that? There are many martial arts groups and clubs on campus, but there is now one that specifically focuses on the situation of self-defense.

Coming from Orlando, Fla., Kyle Sale was a gymnast and instructor at a local gym before he came to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He was interested in keeping his skills from his martial arts training, but also to continue teaching self-defense. He went to the club fair his first semester two years ago, but there was not much there. There were clubs that taught karate or specialized in weapons, but nothing on self-defense.

Taking the initiative, Sale started talking with people around campus. “It’s kind of funny,” he said, “people nod their heads when you invite them to a martial arts club, but the moment you invite them to a self-defense club, their eyes light up.” He’s right. If someone wanted to learn martial arts of any kind, their best place would be an actual dojo or gym instructor.

Naming the club Challenge Yourself, he and several other students from different backgrounds started the group and never looked back. Teaching the ideas of power, strength, and self-control, Sale and his associates teach the art of defense. Self-defense is defined as the act of defending oneself when attacked. They stress that this class is not something you learn to hurt people, making it different from most martial arts schools.

On March 28, the group gave an introductory presentation of what their club represents. They focused on several strategies that are easy and highly encouraged to understand in dangerous situations. The areas of interest were hand-to-hand, bladed weapons, and firearms. Sale and his friends wanted to make sure that people knew that these situations may look easy to handle in a controlled environment, but in the real thing, the victim needs to stay focused. The presenters went through three or four ways to disarm and inflict enough pain to render the attacker not a threat.

The goal of this club is not to just teach Embry-Riddle students how to defend themselves, but begin an outreach program into the Prescott community. With presentations and demonstrations lined up for high schools and even the YMCA this looks to be a great club. “The idea is to keep kids out of trouble,” William Stark, the group’s vice president said, “We workout and then technique as a group.”

The club meets on Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m. There is no art in this club, it is self-defense and nothing more. These men and women, with extensive training in martial arts and military experiences, can help students, faculty, or even grandma and grandpa understand how to act and react in life threatening situations that are never foreseeable.

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