Exercise, Sport and Health Education 263

I. Course Title: Principles of Self Defense

II. Course Number: ESHE 263

III. Credit Hours: 3 credits

IV. Prerequisites: None

V. Course Description: This course examines avenues of self defense, personal survival methods and danger prevention strategies including: defense for assault, rape, home security, environmental awareness, ethics, moral and legal ramifications of self protection.

Note(s): Applied Learning designated course.

VI. Detailed Description of Content of the Course:

1) Content

  • A. Current research concerning crimes, methods and survivors.
  • B. Surviving the panic attack/fear control.
  • C. Cerebral self-defense (out-thinking the attacker).

2) Non-Violent Strategies

  • A. Gandhi and King strategies for non-aggressive defense.
  • B. Reasons not to fight back.
  • C. Legal considerations of violence.

3) Assault

  • A. The study of survivors.
  • B. Awareness of potential confrontations.
  • C. Family.
  • D. Strangers.

4) Rape

  • A. Why study survivors of rape.
  • B. When to decide to not fight back.
  • C. How to fight back.
  • D. After rape.
  • E. Acquaintance rape

5) Home and Personal Security

  • A. Dealing with police.
  • B. Dogs.
  • C. Alarms/Security devices.
  • D. Firearms safety

6) Environmental Awareness

  • A. Urban survival.
  • B. Wilderness survival.
  • C. First Aid.
  • D. Developing a plan.
  • E. Traveling in risk potential areas

7) Verbal Encounters

  • A. Dealing with drunk/intoxicated individuals.
  • B. Verbal self-defense.

8) Physical Encounters

  • A. Understanding principles of empty hand skills.
  • B. Tool development.
  • C. Skill in techniques

9) Counter Techniques

  • A. Defenses against holds and grabs
  • B. Defenses against ground mounts and controls
  • C. Pain control
  • D. Multiple attacks

10) Grappling Attacks

  • A. What to do when the attacker is too strong/big
  • B. What to do when the attacker does not respond
  • C. Spontaneous attacks and counters

11) Striking Attacks

  • A. Responding to punching/kicking attacks
  • B. The sucker punch - performing and avoiding
  • C. Cross Cultural analysis of skills for punching/kicking

12) Women and Martial Arts

  • A. What arts work for women
  • B. Finding an instructor/style
  • C. Analysis of time investments models

13) Mind Control

  • A. Bluffing the attacker
  • B. A study of bluffs that have worked

14) Developing a Personal Protection Plan

  • A. Ethical and moral considerations.
  • B. Personal encounters with violence.
  • C. Developing attitudes to survive.

15) Professionalism in self-defense and martial arts teaching and other professional situations

  • A. Classroom techniques
  • B. Running a program
  • C. Working independently or in cooperation with another organization

VI. Detailed Description of Conduct of Course:

Teaching methods may include one or more of the following:

  • Lecture and discussion
  • Simulated experiences
  • Role playing
  • Video analysis and discussion

VII. Goals and Objectives of the Course:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Interpret current trends and issues in danger prevention and personal protection
  2. Recognize avenues of environmental awareness for danger prevention
  3. Synthesize case studies and techniques demonstrating successful strategies for avoiding rape
  4. Chronicle case studies and techniques demonstrating successful strategies for avoiding violent personal attacks
  5. Illustrate empty hand protection skills
  6. Negotiate non-lethal force alternatives for personal protection.
  7. Evaluate firearm safety.
  8. Recognize legal ramifications of fighting back
  9. Interpret ethical and moral issues concerning aggression and the use of lethal force
  10. Evaluate methods for dealing with police and law enforcement
  11. Apply knowledge and skills to develop professional identity or professional practice in self-defense and martial arts. 
  12. Critically reflect on learning abilities, experiences, or role within professional contexts working in self-defense or martial arts

VIII. Assessment Measures:

Assessment measures may include one or more of the following:

  • Written exams
  • Position paper
  • Skills check


Other Course Information: None


Review and Approval 

September 2001 Reviewed Gib Darden

Revised 2013

June 15, 2015

March 01, 2021