Student holds self-defense classes


Gannon University’s criminal justice honors society, Alpha Phi Sigma, is offering one-time self-defense classes for students and faculty in the lower lounge of the Student Services Center Friday.

Matt Moreland, a senior criminal justice major and martial arts student since age 11, will be teaching two installments of the class, which are $3 per person, from 1-2 p.m. and 2-3 p.m. All proceeds will go toward the Erie Crime Victims center.

Moreland was a student at the Lund Martial Arts Academy in Erie for 10 years, and taught self-defense for five years at places like the Crime Victim Center and Mercyhurst University. He is also a member of Alpha Phi Sigma.

Moreland said he prefers to teach for nonprofit causes, because he hasn’t seen any of the money from previous classes.

An Erie native, Moreland said martial arts was one of the reasons he stayed in Erie for school.

“I didn’t want to stop, so I stayed in town,” Moreland said.

Moreland said he tried to teach self-defense at Gannon before, but he couldn’t get it off the ground.

“Since the events on campus happened, I had a lot of people asking me to teach them,” Moreland said of the reports of armed robberies.

Moreland said the goal of the class is to teach students what self-defense is and a sense of knowing what they can do in potentially dangerous situations. He said the definition of self-defense is getting to a safe place.

“That could mean anything,” Moreland said. “It could mean using your words, or if someone’s asking for a cellphone, you give them your cellphone.

“Your cellphone is not worth a trip to the hospital.”

Moreland said taking one class won’t teach students to be a martial arts expert, but it will give them the tools to get to a safe place.

Some of the techniques Moreland will teach are what situations you can get away from without violence and how to get away from somebody who has grabbed hold of you. Moreland said students will also learn specific strikes, kicks and punches.

“It’s empowering to have a better idea of what to do if somebody attacks you,” Moreland said. He said anybody can attend the class and he encourages people taking it to bring their friends.

Holly Dill, a junior biology and freshwater marine biology major, said she wouldn’t normally think of taking such a class.

“But I would consider taking it considering Gannon can’t keep its campus free of hooligans running around,” Dill said.

Coji Madonna III, a junior education major, said sometimes it’s necessary to learn such skills.

“It would be a good idea if you have no sense of defense,” Madonna said.