PE classes incorporates self-defense into curriculum

Health and gym teacher Carolyn Gaffke just earned her self-defense credentials and will now incorporate her training into her gym classes.

Gaffke teaches sophomore health as well as dance and aerobic classes at Grayslake North. She has recently begun to get into taking self-defense classes. To her, it’s important to get the word out about being prepared in cases of emergencies.

“I think it’s very important for young boys and girls to understand how to protect themselves if there is ever a situation where they feel uncomfortable or where they feel they’ll need protection. I got this training not only for myself but so I could pass the information on to my students and my children at home,” Gaffke said.

Gaffke will be implementing her training into her dance and aerobic classes in the following 2019-2020 school year. Students will learn certain techniques such as hand-strikes, blocking, where to hit and how to act under those types of situations. This training will be similar yet different from what Gaffke underwent when she was being trained.

“When I was taking my final test to get the certification, they put me in a ‘real-life’ scenario. Basically, these very built men covered in body padding started putting their arms around me or standing a little too close. I would have to do my self-defense moves on them that I learned in my training. It was definitely scarier than I thought it would be despite being prepared for it. I hope no one ever is put into that situation, but that’s why I am learning about how to deal with it so that I can help myself and others,” Gaffke said.

Another benefit of learning self-defense with Gaffke is that students enrolled in either her dance or aerobic class are given the opportunity to take other self-defense classes for free. So, for instance, if there was a self-defense class being held at a college and you took either dance or aerobics with Gaffke, you are able to take the class being offered for free. This is because everyone in her class will have their name put into a system that will recognize the work they did with her.

“I’m looking forward to taking the class next year. I was in her dance class this year and I only saw a little glimpse in the last few weeks, but next year will definitely be better. It’s good to get the word out there,” said junior Brooke Meadowcroft.

The benefits of learning about self-defense are immense. When people know how to defend themselves, it makes it easier to get out of certain situations. Gaffke will also help educate her students on why it’s important to know how to do self-defense.

If you are interested in taking either dance or aerobics in the 2019-2020 school year, contact your counselor.