University of Central Florida students will don their best clubwear and head to a downtown nightclub next week with the hope of being grabbed on the dance floor or pinned against a wall.
They’re not gluttons for punishment. It’s part of their coursework in a semester-long self-defense class.
Instructor Junius Bradley and an Orlando police officer will teach them how to react in a real confrontation. Some students are dressing up to make the training scenarios more realistic – and so Bradley can show them how to use their high heels, jackets and belts to get out of a tough spot.
“We teach them to avoid situations, but also how to handle one if they have no choice,” Bradley said. “I’ve taken it out of the classroom to give them real-world training.”
Earlier this week, more than 50 of Bradley’s students gathered in the gymnasium at the UCF Education Complex for guest instruction by martial arts expert Robert Rene. In two weeks, they’ll get a visit from U.S. Marine Corps instructors.
Another upcoming class will take place in a parking garage, where students will learn to safely navigate stairwells and approach their cars in a dimly lit structure.
On Tuesday, about 45 students will get more practical advice when class convenes at Independent Bar, a popular nightspot on Church Street.
Things will get physical. Bradley will show students how to handle an attack from an aggressor, the best moves to employ when grabbed from behind or pinned against a wall, and more.
Students will also learn to keep an eye on their drinks so no one can slip them anything. They’ll know how to spot potentially dangerous spots inside nightclubs, and what areas to avoid when they end a night of clubbing and walk out the door.
The class is meeting at 11 a.m., before the club actually opens, so students will have the place to themselves.
Crime is down in downtown Orlando, with a 9.7 percent decrease from 2013 to 2014, according to reports compiled for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. But Bradley said the lessons could be applied in any urban environment.