Jamie Ianni is the Okemos women's volleyball coach. Before that she coached college, when one of her players was assaulted.
"She ran every day at the same time, to get up and be out running every day at six A.M. and there was someone who had apparently stalked her and so she was assaulted as a young woman on her morning run," says Ianni.
Now, Ianni encourages her high school athletes to take self-defense training.
"I do think we're in a society now where there aren't a lot of boundaries and people don't respect others' personal space," solemnly explains Ianni. "Sadly, I think we have to give people information and then hopefully they never have to use it."
That's why self-defense classes like John Faett's focus on raising awareness to avoid dangerous situations entirely:
"We're assuming always in a real situation that the opponent's bigger, stronger, faster," states Faett. "Then if we assume those things, the best way to protect yourself is to avoid the situation in the first place."
Faett's classes do include physical training on what to do if an attack is unavoidable, and also mental preparation if they ever are attacked:
"We take that fear and anxiety of the situation and we turn it into a different emotion. Which is anger," he claims.
Ianni knows this one class won't make her athletes into fighters, but she hopes they will keep some of the knowledge in the back of their heads in case they ever need it.
Groups around the area are preparing to host self defense seminars including one on October 23rd at Lake State CrossFit in DeWitt. The event is from 12-3 P.M. and will raise money for the Firecracker Foundation. Donations are $20 with a pre-registration, and $30 at the door.