Coach Mirkitani teaches students how to defend themselves
By: Katie Hayes
Coach Ron Mirikitani, who teaches Personal Defense at Meramec, said students openly talk to him after class about times they were attacked.
“A lot of people have had confrontations,” Mirikitani said.
“I teach a lot of kicks, specifically how to get out of situations when you are attacked — how to manipulate the body.” However, not all students who take the class have had negative experiences.
Full-time students Alyssa Bach and Angela Brown both took the class because they thought it looked fun and would be useful.
“If someone attacks you, this class gives you ways to protect yourself,” Bach said.
“I think it’s something you can definitely use and I feel like a lot of people should take it.” Bach, who stands at 5 feet 3 inches tall, said since learning moves from the Personal Defense class, she can now flip her brother, who is 6 feet 6 inches.
“My little brother doesn’t think I can do these moves, but I can,” Bach said.
“I can flip [my brother] over. It’s pretty cool. He was like ‘you can’t do that!’ and when I did he was like ‘whoa, that’s really cool!’” Brown also said she found the class useful.
“It’s nice to have this in your pocket just in case you do need it,” Brown said.
“Things happen every day, anywhere. It would just be nice to know, ‘yeah, I could protect myself if something did happen because of this class.’” Bach said the most useful thing she learned this semester was stability and how to properly stand.
“[Coach Mirikitani] talks a lot about the stance and how you have to stand certain ways so if you are attacked, you’ll be less likely to fall,” Bach said. “And, if you’re kicking, you will be more evenly distributed in your legs and I think that has definitely helped me. So, if the situation does come, at least I have that so I won’t be falling all over the place.” Mirikitani said in addition to teaching a lot of kicks, grabbing is a common form of assault, so he teaches how to get out of grabs.
Mirikitani also said that gender does not make a difference when it comes to who is attacked.
“I meet a lot of young men who have had bad experiences,” Mirikitani said.
“It happens to men and women of all ages. [Gender] does not make a difference.” While the ratio of male-to-female students used to heavily favor women in his Personal Defense class, Mirikitani said now maybe one third is male.
“The whole philosophy of crime has escalated in the last few years,” Mirikitani said.
“There are a lot of angry people out there.” In addition to teaching Personal Defense, Mirikitani has also taught Judo and Karate at Meramec for the past 46 years.
“Cognisance is an important aspect and empowering because it gives you an idea of what can happen to you,” Mirikitani said.