“Anyone can do it,” she assured. The first class included ages from 16 to 67. Even a mother/daughter duo finished the course together.
The national program focuses on avoidance, awareness and keeping out of risky situations, as well as moves to defend oneself.
The class includes six hours of the physical part such as simple moves (martial arts), and at the end, the women suit up for actual practice with “aggressors.”
“It works,” McKee said.
The Cleveland police officer said she met the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga officer who heads the program at the university and heard the presentation.
McKee felt it was a wonderful program and would be welcome in the Cleveland community. That proved true as the classes filled up quickly and expanded to include seniors and children.
About three classes a year are offered, but McKee hopes, with more funding for more instructors, more classes can be offered. RadKIDS has been presented to Blythe-Bower Elementary School fourth-grade students and classes are planned for other elementary schools.
R.A.D. also works for Lee University — college students away from home for the first time — as they need to learn risk awareness and risk reduction.
The program currently has four certified instructors with more in training.
McKee works with individuals in the smaller classes. Moves are basic. She said she helps them “get a leg up,” as they practice self-defense skills.
“I can do it” is declared as women learn to defend themselves, although it is hoped they never have to use the skills learned.
The program is free to participants because the police department covers the cost. Enrollment is first come, first served.
McKee said a variety of women attend classes — dispatchers, high schoolers, college students, teachers, grandmas, officers’ wives and many more.
The R.A.D. Mission Statement reads: “The mission of the R.A.D. Systems is to establish an accessible, constantly improving and internationally respected alliance of dedicated instructors. These in turn will provide educational opportunities for women, children, men and seniors to create a safer future for themselves. In doing this, we challenge society to evolve into an existence where violence is not an acceptable part of daily life.”
Lawrence N. Nadeau is the founder and serves as director of Instructional Development. R.A.D. is the only self-defense program ever endorsed by the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, National Academy of Defense Education, the National Self-Defense Institute and Redman Training gear.
According to its website, R.A.D. offers programs for women, children, men and seniors. “These offerings provide a truly holistic approach to self-defenses education, supporting the necessity of continuous learning in order to provide realistic options for each population as they go through life.”
Each of these programs, explains R.A.D., includes educational components comprised of lecture, discussion, and physical resistive strategies, all of which are facilitated by certified R.A.D. instructors supported by a network of dedicated professionals who honor one another’s student through a unique lifetime return and practic policy.
RadKIDS was first offered in 1998. It is a comprehensive program initially designed to educate parents and children about safety and awareness strategies, while providing them with physical resistance/defense techniques specifically modified for children.
R.A.D. Seniors, offering awareness and defense strategies for older adults, is taught in a relaxed environment that is conducive to learning tested instructional techniques, proven tactics and unique insights about the problems unique to older adults. The program also incudes physical defense workouts for technique development and educational components to assist with the development of defensive strategies. It is a 15-hour program to be offered in 10 sessions.
Locally, UTC and Southern Adventist University also host R.A.D. classes for their students. McKee hopes to have an advanced R.A.D. class — it builds on first R.A.D. curriculum and focuses more on ground defense. As a certified R.A.D. basic physical defense instructor, she plans, when funding is available, to enter the 20-hour program and receive the advanced instructor certification.
McKee has worked with the program five years and was with the police department five years before that. She said she was an “Army brat” and settled in Cleveland in 1997. She went to Cleveland High School and met her husband, Shaun, in Cleveland.
For more information on the R.A.D. program in Cleveland, contact McKee by email: email@example.com.