T.A.K.E. Defense empowers women
Female students take part in clinic sponsored by fraternity
By Derek Legette
T.A.K.E Defense, brought to campus by fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon, was created in 2005, after 19-year-old Alexandra Kemp was brutally murdered by a predator. Her father, Roger Kemp, immediately concocted an idea to help women everywhere learn how to defend themselves.
“Roger Kemp is a hero for wanting to help others,” said Jill Leiker, the program’s instructor.
Leiker is an eighth-degree black belt and has been working in martial arts for over twenty years. She said it was fate that allowed she and Kemp to meet, and within six to eight months they developed a program that has trained over 37,000 women, ranging from age 12 to astonishingly 90 years old, over the past four years.
Leiker usually has fun while teaching basic defense maneuvers, and it was no different with the girls here at USC.
“It was good, the girls liked it and they did a super job,” Leiker said.
According to her, people learn better when they have fun, and the girls were indeed very enthused before and after the seminar.
“I’m really excited to learn how to protect and defend myself in a serious situation,” said Allison Lukacic, a third-year exercise science student.
Learning self-defense is invaluable in particular situations.
“It’s always good to know how to handle yourself, especially if you’re going downtown,” said Shannon Parry, a fourth-year international business student.
The girls learned about awareness, boundary settings and hands-on combat exercises. Leiker demonstrated frontal and rear attack techniques and also displayed target areas such as the eyes, groin, solar plexus and others.
The training course served its purpose and proved to be an adventurous experience for the young women. Gracie Andrews, a first-year psychology student, really enjoyed it.
“It was awesome, funny and very informative. It was definitely helpful to me,” Andrews said.
Currently in the fall, T.A.K.E. is doing its Sweet 16 tour, in which the program travels to 16 schools before the semester is over. Leiker says that Sigma Phi Epsilon did a great job of getting them to come due to their busy schedule.
The fraternity paid all expenses for T.A.K.E. to come out to Columbia for the night.
“We wanted to do this because most philanthropies were just raising money for others, so we decided to actually do something for others,” said Kyle Joseph, the fraternity’s philanthropy chair and a third-year accounting and financing student.
“I think it’s great that girls learn to defend themselves. The trainers come and give them a great experience out of goodwill.”
Even though martial arts has a strong emphasis, Leiker says it is primarily about education.
“Ninety-nine percent of the world is good, you just have to know about that one percent and how to handle them,” she said. “Education is power.”