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    September 6, 2022 Lynchburg, Va. RSS |

    Liberty University’s taekwondo team will host its fall semester women’s self-defense seminar on Monday from 7-9 p.m. in the Club Sports Olympic Training Center, located in the former Liberty Mountain Skate Park in Candlers Station with a capacity of 60 or more residential students, faculty, and staff.

    The seminar will be led by Head Coach Tom Childress, who works as a police officer at BWX Technologies, Inc., and has taught self-defense tactics at the Central Virginia Criminal Justice Academy in Lynchburg for more than 25 years.

    “We will teach some really basic concepts that sometimes people don’t think of,” Childress said. “We take the Hollywood out of it, the crazy stuff that has nothing to do with self-defense. We will keep it very generic and run the students through some drills and try to have a little fun, even though the things we will talk about are serious. Combat skills in martial arts are perishable. If you don’t use them, you are going to lose them. We teach very broad skills to put in your toolbox, so that they can pull them out and use them in the event of an emergency.”

    Childress is working with Liberty’s Office of Residential Life to offer a similar seminar on a monthly rather than a semesterly basis.

    “We are looking to try to partner with them and run our program on a more regular schedule,” Childress said. “I would love to give every female freshman an opportunity to attend, to make it more accessible.”

    Liberty has installed emergency blue light call boxes and surveillance cameras around campus to make it an even safer community, with LUPD providing around-the-clock protection.

    Childress teaches students basic self-defense techniques and strategies.

    “The university is looking at other things to see what it can do to be a little more proactive, and that is definitely a step in the right direction,” Childress said, noting that safety training should be a priority in every student’s mind. “We are not trying to use scare tactics, but just let incoming students know that Liberty is not excluded from the rest of the world. You need to be aware and you could learn a few tools and techniques and how to apply them correctly to escape if you find yourself in a bad situation.”

    He will be assisted by members of the Flames’ and Lady Flames’ team, which will be finalized after Tuesday’s and Thursday’s final two tryout sessions.

    “So far, we have had almost 60 people come in and either watch or work out with the team or try out,” Childress said, anticipating a final roster in the mid-30s.

    He said five of the nine returning team members are black belts and he will be adding at least four more.

    “We will have a lot of new faces,” Childress said. “Of the newcomers, we have a split of close to 15 with absolutely zero experience and about the same number with some experience.”

    The team’s first competition will be an ECTC tournament on Oct. 22 at MIT in Boston with another set for Nov. 6 at Cornell. Then, Liberty will host an ACAT tournament on Nov. 12 at the Liberty Indoor Track Complex.