McNick to hold self-defense assembly

On Mar. 26, McNick will hold a self-defense assembly entitled “Navigating Life with Courage and Confidence,” led by the Survival Institute.

There has been a lot of curiosity surrounding this assembly, ever since Principal Patty Beckert asked students to donate 700 toilet paper rolls for its purpose. The rolls, which are similar in structure to a person’s throat, will be used as a hands-on part of the assembly that demonstrates defense techniques.

“The idea first came up at a PTSA meeting,” Beckert said. “Some of the moms wanted a course on self-defense available at McNick, and then other parents suggested that we hold an assembly instead. Many of them had positive reviews about the Survive Institute, and got me in contact with the founder, Debbie Gardner. After talking with her, I think students will really benefit from her enthusiastic and confident attitude.”

Debbie Gardner founded the Survive Institute on Feb. 4, 1981. Both Gardner and her husband Mike are former police officers, and spent years learning traditional self-defense techniques.

“I created the Survive Institute so that I could travel around the world as an independent, professional speaker,” Gardner said. “I wanted to ‘cut through the bull’ and rapidly teach nice people the absolute truth about courage and crime survival. When discussed honestly, it is a very simple subject.”

However, after Gardner found herself inadequate in a life-threatening situation, she and her husband began to think these complicated methods weren’t the best answer.

“I learned the truth as a policewoman, because I almost died a few times,” Gardner said. “I was amazed that it was the simple things that worked, more than the fancy techniques we learned in classes. As time went on, I became annoyed that the police academy wasted time practicing silly tactics that never worked. They only clutter the mind. I eventually learned that less is more, when less is right!”

The seminar focuses on the three levels of truth: “controlling yourself, preventing what you can, and surviving what you can’t prevent.” It will avoid the common tactics that adults often use to teach kids about safety. The program says that scaring kids or simply hoping for the best isn’t the answer. Instead, teens should be taught courage and how to make smart choices.

“Your safety is your responsibility, period. The role of the police is to ‘get there’ not ‘be there.’ You must learn to save yourself,” Gardner said. “It’s just like how you have to learn how to drive in the snow by yourself. Just like bad weather, you never know when crime will surface.”

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