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Staunton Man Teaches College-Aged Women Self Defense

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Phil Kennedy teaching women to defend themselves Phil Kennedy teaching women to defend themselves
Students who have taken the class say it was worthwhile Students who have taken the class say it was worthwhile
Kennedy is offering these classes in light of sexual assault cases Kennedy is offering these classes in light of sexual assault cases
Kennedy owns Virginia Self-Defense in Staunton Kennedy owns Virginia Self-Defense in Staunton
STAUNTON, Va. (WVIR) -

With a steady stream of sexual assault reports coming to light across the country, a Staunton man is teaching college-aged women how to defend themselves against predators.

Phil Kennedy, the owner of Virginia Self-Defense, is using martial arts to teach college females how to defend themselves against abduction.

“I definitely think it’s a skill that every girl should have because you never know what kind of situation you’re going to get into,” says Madeline Mansi, a student at James Madison University.

Kennedy is a martial arts instructor at Mary Baldwin University. He's aiming to stomp out college abductions in central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley by teaching women how to protect themselves.

“Our primary goal here is not only focused on situational awareness and voice control, but effective striking techniques, defenses against abduction, as well as basic ground survival,” says Kennedy.

His Staunton class teaches students like Mansi how to use martial arts to ward off attackers.

“We’ve learned how to get out of a chokehold and how to get out of a wrist grab, and like a bunch of other basic attacks that guys or anyone I guess would put on you in a dangerous situation,” says Mansi.

Mansi says most of the time she feels safe on campus at JMU. But, she says, learning self-defense allows her to feel more secure in sketchy situations.

“There’s definitely some creepy times when you’re out by yourself like walking back from the library where I’m, like, making sure I’m aware of my surroundings,” says Mansi.

Kennedy says the first step to protecting yourself is just being aware.

“Most people these days are walking around with their head down in their phone and not looking around, not paying attention to what’s going on around them,” says Kennedy.

Students who have gone through the self-defense class highly recommend others take one as well. They say it makes both them and their parents feel more at ease.

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