Protecting self and others

December 26, 2012 10:58 am
BHHS student Christian Rushton, left, delivers a knee to a practice dummy held by Alec McBride. The two were participating in the self-defense portion of their physical education class taught by guest lecturer A.J. Geldersma. The Pilot/Jef Hatch
BHHS student Christian Rushton, left, delivers a knee to a practice dummy held by Alec McBride. The two were participating in the self-defense portion of their physical education class taught by guest lecturer A.J. Geldersma. The Pilot/Jef Hatch

For three days, students in BHHS educator Matt Simpson’s physical education class worked with dummies. They punched them, kicked them, pulled them, threw them and tried to destroy them.

They failed. The dummies were tough and took the beatings they were given without complaint as the three classes of students participated in a self-defense class put on by South Coast Fitness Center owner – and black belt in a number of martial arts – A.J. Geldersma.

“I thought it might be fun for the kids,” Simpson said. “Thought they might enjoy it.”

Simpson had been instrumental in implementing the same type of class when he taught at Sherwood High School and decided to do the same thing here.

“Our goal was to have the kids bring at least one thing away from the class,” Simpson explained. “If they took one or two things from the class then it was successful.”

According to class member Christian Rushton, it has been successful for him.

“It’s been awesome,” he said. “Gives me a new way to be physically active, and ways to protect myself.”

Fellow classmate Alysha Goodwin agreed.

“I think it is really important,” she said. “You have to be able to defend yourself in any situation.”

According to Geldersma, he used the first day to flesh out the classes’ desires.

“They really liked the striking aspect of the class,” he said, “so I went back to the shop and gathered up all the practice pads I had and we’ll focus on the striking. They get a chance to blow off some steam in a class that is a little  different from the norm.”

The practice dummies refused comment, but seemed to be content with their role in the class.