The chilling memories of the Garissa University attack that saw 147 innocent lives lost still uncomfortably remain etched in our memories. Much as measures are taken daily to either mitigate or totally stump out security threats, they still remain a stark reality in our daily existence. The other reality is that security officers may not always be there instantly when they are needed in a dire situation. So what does that boil down to? You and me. Just how can you get yourself out of or minimize the damage in a scenario of a security breach or threat? That was the subject of a day-long training held in the University assembly hall last week.
The training, organized by the Jomo Kenyatta University Students Association (JKUSA) through the office of the Deputy President Ms. Maimuna Mohammed, saw Krav Maga instructors visit the University and take students through basic defense mechanisms in times of trouble. If you have no idea what Krav Maga means, like I did, it is a self-defense system developed for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) that consists of a wide combination of techniques sourced from aikido, judo, boxing and wrestling, along with realistic fight training.
So what does common sense call for when you’re cornered by an aggressor? Whether a terrorist, rapist or a robber? It calls for a plan, a plan to defend oneself, a plan to survive. The first natural instinct in a security threat scenario is always to run, and yes, sometimes it’s the best option. It’s advisable to always try as much as possible to flee from a dangerous situation since the potential for a further escalation and meltdown is always very high. The second instinct is to hide, and yes, cowards live longer after all. If you cannot get out safely and stand no chance of fighting back, hide for as long as possible until the storm passes by. Then comes the last option; fight. As a last resort, whether you’re alone or working as a group, fight. Act with aggression, improvise weapons, dare the devil, disarm him if possible and commit into taking them down no matter what.
This I wish to emphasize; fighting. When you cannot run, you cannot hide long enough, one thing should ring in your mind, don’t you die like a coward, die fighting! If your improvised weapon can kill the enemy, let not guilt of sanctity of life delay you, strike and strike hard to incapacitate the enemy. It’s you against him, you choose to die or live. Choose life. The Krav Maga has a philosophy emphasizing threat neutralization, simultaneous defensive and offensive maneuvers and aggression, and this was the object of various basic skills the students were taken through last week. From how to face an aggressor who is not armed, to facing one armed with different types of weapons, it is safe to say it was a fruitful session, especially judging from the positive sentiments expressed by the students after the training.
The University Chief Security Officer Mr. Njeru Mwaniki who was in attendance, emphasized the need for students to be equipped with basic defensive skills to ensure their safety is guaranteed at all times. He also committed to ensuring students can continue to access more of such trainings in the future. The JKUSA Vice President Ms. Maimuna Mohammed on her part expressed her delight at the way the training unfolded, citing the significant security insights the students managed to gain from the Krav Maga instructor. “We set out to do this due to the constant threat of insecurity we face daily throughout the country, and my hope is that this goes along way in ensuring the safety of the comrades wherever they are.”
All that said, it is also equally important to note that where it’s possible to avoid a dangerous situation or a potentially dangerous encounter, it is very prudent to do so. There are never second chances at life.
So stay safe! It’s Cool to Be Secure.
Photography by Nelson Akuku