Survival skills

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:42

    VERNON - Studying hard is the way to make it to college. Learning the basics of self-defense is the way to make it safely through college. Pam Fricke, a second-degree black belt, presented a seminar on self-defense April 21 at Vernon Township High School to help senior and junior girls learn those basics. "You're going to have to learn a whole new way of life, a little bit at a time," Fricke told the group of about 10 girls and two teachers. Fricke, who taught the class with fourth-degree black belt Master Doug Cook, divided the seminar into three sections. After a brief warm-up, Fricke talked to the girls about self-defense. Fricke stressed cultivating one's intuition, learning to center oneself through meditative breathing and always maintaining an awareness of one's surroundings. Fricke touched on drugs and alcohol awareness as well, although you don't have to drink alcohol to be taken advantage of through date-rape drugs, she said. "I wouldn't drink from anything that I didn't open up and hear the snap," said Fricke. After learning about prevention, Cook took over to teach the girls basic taekwondo punches and strikes, as well as how to escape from various holds. "This isn't stand there and duke it out," said Cook. "This is one, two or three strikes and run." Cook, head instructor of Chosun Taekwondo Academy in Warwick, N.Y., demonstrated the techniques as he described them, and then had the girls practice the moves with karate instructors who volunteered to assist with the seminar. The seminar was sponsored by Cook's school as well as Fricke's school, Universal Taekwondo Academy in Sussex, and the Chosun Taekwondo Academy in Franklin. Fricke said she organized the seminar after learning that a friend had been attacked while at college. She offered the program at High Point Regional High School in December of 2003, and hopes to make it available to any high school in the county. For more information, or to schedule a seminar, students and administrators can visit the school's Web site,