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STC Employees Receive Self-Defense Training at Vidalia Karate, ATA

August 21, 2013 - After grabbing a fistful of the dean’s hair, Southeastern Technical College’s security director found the health science dean’s knee thrust into his stomach. Instructors and staff looked on, smiling and waiting their turn on the blue mats.

On August 6, Southeastern Tech faculty and staff took advantage of a self-defense class offered at Vidalia Karate, ATA (American Taekwondo Association). In two sessions, over 50 of the college’s employees from Swainsboro and Vidalia received lessons from the martial arts studio’s owners, Derek and Sadia Ajohda, on keeping themselves safe in physical altercations.

“We deal with a lot of people,” said Travis Akridge, director of safety and security for STC. “And some of us deal with a lot of people on a day-to-day basis that could get upset with us really quickly.”

Each session lasted about two hours and had the Ajohdas and several volunteers demonstrating and teaching a variety of martial arts techniques, all centered on defending oneself from abduction or attack.

“What we want to do today is get them a little bit more prepared so that they can think of certain situations, they can think of certain self-defense techniques that will possibly save them, keep them alive if they ever were to get in a serious situation,” said Sadia, who is also a biology instructor at Southeastern Tech. “Hopefully, they never have to use it.”

To underscore the necessity of self-defense, Sadia quoted a number of statistics from the FBI. According to, in the United States, a murder is committed every 26 minutes, a forcible rape every 6.3 minutes, a robbery every 1.5 minutes, and an aggravated assault every 42 seconds.

“I want you to be nervous,” Sadia told the morning session. “Not to the extent that you’re going to walk around and not be able to live life, but to the extent that you are actually able to be a little bit more aware, secure yourself and secure your family.”

The Ajohdas made it clear that much of what they train against can be avoided simply by paying attention to surroundings.

“If you’re just aware of what’s going on around you, you will probably avoid probably 80 percent of engagements,” said Derek. “That’s just from being aware, and that’s self-defense.”

Southeastern Tech faculty and staff practice self-defense techniques with the help of Vidalia Karate, ATA volunteers at the martial arts studio in downtown Vidalia on August 6.