Preparedness is the key to keeping yourself safe, UCFPD Ofc. Peter Stephens explained to the women attending a self-defense class hosted by the department Tuesday night.

“A lot of times you’re not paying attention to what’s going on, and women are often the targets of this type of activity, so we want to make them as well-prepared as we possibly can,” said Ofc. Stephens, a member of the police department since 2010. Mental and physical readiness are key to empowerment, he said.

UCF officers who have been trained by the National Self-Defense Institute lead a women’s self-defense class each month. The courses are designed to provide attendees with information, tactics and considerations which may be useful for a variety of encounters.

The ladies in Tuesday’s class learned various maneuvers to thwart an attacker, including the proper ways and areas to hit someone. Each individual was shown the moves and then was given an opportunity to practice them.

Bridget Weber, a sophomore at UCF, thought the class was helpful.

“Something that every girl, or everyone, needs to learn is self-defense,” said Weber. “You never think this is going to happen to you, but it really could. So it’s really good to make sure that you are prepared.”

Community member Melissa Davis said she thought it was a great learning experience.

“I actually wanted my mom and my daughter and her friend to be able to protect themselves,” she explained. “I don’t want her to be a statistic. I wanted to show her that she’s more powerful than she thinks she is.”

The self-defense classes are open to students, faculty and staff members, and members of the community. Classes fill up quickly, so make sure to register early.

Group classes also are available for eight or more women. If you are interested in hosting a Women’s Self-Defense Class, contact Ofc. Stephens at 407-823-6576.