Friday, Oct. 12, 2012
Women learn self-defense tactics in Belton
Program inspired by parents of murdered Kan. teen
By Bethany Bashioum
Ten years ago, a nearby Leawood, Kan. teen, Ali Kemp, 19, died after being brutally attacked while working at a neighborhood pool in Johnson County, Kan.
On Oct. 6, about 50 women and girls gathered together at the High Blue Wellness Center in Belton, not far from the Kansas community where Kemp left her legacy, to help prevent themselves, too, from becoming a victim of a senseless tragedy through a lesson in self-defense.
The event, The Ali Kemp Education Foundation (T.A.K.E) self defense training, was taught by Jill and Bob Leiker, trained martial arts experts, but who are also dedicated to helping women fend off predators if a situation would ever arise.
T.AK.E. Defense training was established in the Kemp’s memory.
“We’re doing it to give back to the community and to provide an opportunity for the women and girls to learn self defense, and provide a skill to them that hopefully they’ll never need, but if they, they’ll have some training in it,” said Kellie Temple, a Girl Scout service unit manager in the Raymore-Peculiar and Pleasant Hill communities.
Temple, along with Belton Service Unit Manager Kerri Robinson organized the event, which included a brief segment from Kemp’s father, Roger Kemp.
Kemp said his daughter’s story has inspired and encouraged women all over the country to take a stand against senseless tragedies by learning how they can fight off attackers if a situation would occur.
“We don’t want another senseless tragedy to happen in our society, and every night, unfortunately, we learn on the news that there has been senseless tragedy by someone who doesn’t care about our loved ones,” Kemp said. “The thing is, these senseless acts of violence don’t happen to somebody else, they happen to someone who has their whole life before them and it’s taken away from them. We have to put a stop to that.”
Kemp began a pilot program of the training courses in 2004 in the basement of the Leawood City Hall with 12 people in attendance.
Today, more than 48,000 women have participated in T.A.K.E. training events from coast to coast, particularly at colleges and universities.
After Kemp shared about his daughter, and how he was inspired to create such a program, he opened the floor to Jill Leiker.
Leiker performed an experiment on the ladies in the room after her husband, Bob, stepped out of the gymnasium at the Wellness Center.
“There was a guy sitting over there, earlier, with me,” she said. “Give me a description of him. What did he look like?”
The women in attendance began to point out physical characteristics, such as clothing, height, weight and physical features.
Leiker demonstrated the importance of getting a detailed description of an attacker so that sketch artists can use their skills to aid law enforcement in finding the bad guys.
Bob Leiker came back into the room, talked for a few moments, before the class became hands on -- allowing the women to take to the floor to learn a few basic tactics for escaping, including a three-punch combination, grip techniques and a quick method of knees-to-the-groin to fend off predators.