JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md., --
The sound of “no” being yelled forcefully resonates through the small room where eight women stand in a circle.
An instructor tells them to relax before repeating the command. Two additional instructors observe and make slight adjustments to some of the women’s stances.
The women are members of Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, participating in a Rape Aggression Defense class hosted by the 11th Security Support Squadron.
Staff Sgt. Shandralekha Carlos, 11th Wing Commander’s Action Group NCO in charge and certified R.A.D. instructor, explained that the mission of the R.A.D. program is to teach basic self-defense tactics and provide education on avoiding potential risk factors.
“It’s not just stand up tactics, you learn how to get out of multiple situations,” said Carlos.
Self-defense isn’t always just physically fighting someone; it can be verbal judo and finding the confidence to say to someone to leave you alone, added Carlos.
The classes are held over a two-day period and they are not designed to be timed-paced, but designed to give participants the time to be able to practice the techniques with each other and the instructors.
Senior Airman Lalynn Antell, 11th Civil Engineer Squadron engineer assistant, explained why she took the class.
“I like to go out and do things by myself like hiking and walking and I want to be prepared in case I need to defend myself,” she said.
Antell said that during one of the practice scenarios where an instructor grabbed her and she was able to escape, she understood that if it were a real-life scenario she would be able to protect herself and get away.
“I feel like I’m a lot stronger than I thought I was,” said Antell. “It made me realize that if I had to, I could defend myself.”
According to the R.A.D website, the program is an internationally recognized alliance of self-defense educators dedicated to enhancing defensive options for women, children, men and seniors, while developing their individually unique abilities to manage aggressive and violent behavior. R.A.D. is the largest network of its kind with more than 11,000 instructors who teach at various colleges, universities, municipal law enforcement agencies, and various other organizations. It is the only existing program with a free lifetime return and practice policy, honored worldwide.
“Currently we only have the women’s certification,” said Carlos. “It’s open to any Department of Defense employee, active-duty member or dependent. Basically, if you can get on base, you can take the class.”
The classes are announced by emails from the first sergeants and the next sets are scheduled for Sept. 9-10 and Sept 23-24.