Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Computer Science


Soccer, Painting, Muay Thai, The Big Bang Theory show, Gym, Volunteering, Tutoring

About Me

Self-defense RAD Course

April 9, 2017

I dodged effortlessly, threw a perfect roundhouse kick, and followed it with a powerful knee strike. Balanced on my feet, and with arms guarding my chin, I was alert and ready to thwart any attack of the aggressor.

Wouldn’t that be nice? I hope I could turn into a martial art genius in any endangered situation. Truth be told, the closest to a fight I had was when my younger brother and I would imagine fancy names for our moves, like “The Furious Slap of Blue Dragon” or “The Ultimate Back Kick of Unicorn,” and mercilessly attacked the air. We emerged victorious, if you are wondering. But in a dangerous situation, wherein the optimal option (RUNNN!!!!) is somehow not available, I want to defend myself for real.

Therefore, I signed up for the Self Defense RAD course, which spans 12 hours (over two Saturdays). We spent the first portion of the course learning about preventive measures we could use to minimize the risks of being attacked or robbed. From checking the hidden corners around the car while walking through a dark garage, to not hiding our door keys under that obviously fake rock bought from Walmart, RAD instructors walked us through these do’s and don’t’s. The potential dangers that they discussed were pretty realistic, which made the tips all the more pertinent and valuable. 

The next part of the course were really fun! We learned how to block an attack from the aggressor, how to escape from a wrist grab or a chokehold, and how to throw kicks and punches at vulnerable spots of the attacker. Each time we made a move, we were supposed to yell “No” both to assert our objections and to increase our confidence. For each defense strategy, we practiced it over and over for several times to train our muscle memory.

The highlight of the RAD class - for me at least - is the simulation at the end. RAD instructors acted as aggressors and simulated a physical attack on the students, who would then try to escape from the situation using the defense techniques they learned. We all had to dress up in these protective suits so that we could use our 100% force to defend ourselves, without actually hurting the RAD instructor or ourselves.

Self defense

Fancy, huh?

During this fight-or-flight scenario, my mind went completely blank and my body just acted on its own. The only details I remembered were the cheers of other students, the sound of my own voice yelling “No! Back off! Get away!” repetitively, and the fact that I fought as hard as I could. It felt empowering when I could apply the moves I learned to break out of the situation safely.

This RAD course did not only teach me about defense strategies, but it also taught me new things about myself. That I am strong enough to defend myself determinedly in dangerous situations — that I can be scared but not helpless, vulnerable but not weak. Other women who took the course might have felt the same way, I believe. It was overall a great experience for us!

About me

Hi guys, I'm Tracy, a newbie Spider at Richmond! My majors are probably Computer Science and Math, and I'm so in love with my current Math/CS classes. They're all amazing! A little more about my background: I'm from Vietnam, but I went to high school in Nebraska. It feels so weird to be a freshman again, when you practically know nobody at school, keep getting lost while finding your classes, always look up to your upperclassmen (no actually, with my height of 5ft2'',  I technically look up to everyone); and struggle with all the new changes.

Yet, it's also exciting! If you haven't already known, University of Richmond offers a wealth of choices in academics, research opportunities, extracurricular activites and - most importantly - desserts. So my goal is to get out of my comfort zone, jump at different opportunities (or desserts) that intrigue me, and make the most out of my college experience. I love soccer, so my friends and I just formed an intramural team named Kiss My Pass. I'm also interested in martial arts, learning ballroom dancing, painting, learning guitar, baking, making new friends,  tutoring and volunteering. Yup, that's quite a lot! But I have 4 years here to follow my passions and become who I aspire to be. As a Spider Diarist, I will also make sure to keep you updated on my journey at Richmond!

Why UR?

I actually applied to UR on a whim without researching carefully about it. At that time, all those tedious Why X and "What's your plans bla bla bla" prompts have exhausted my meager creative juices, and writing college essays quickly rose to the top of my most dreaded chores. "Tell us about Spiders" was a fresh air. It revived the truly poetic, hopelessly romantic, exasperatingly dramatic and possibly neurotic side of me. In short, I loved the prompt; and with the waived application fee as a plus, I decided to apply to UR. It was not until I got accepted that I started visiting the school and seriously considering what it has to offer. During my first visit, as cliched as that might sound, I fell in love with Richmond. What's not to love about such helpful and outstanding professors, the wonderful opportunities to engage in research or study abroad, the vibrant, inclusive and diverse community, and again - most importantly - the irresistable desserts? I went to the admission office to pay my deposit right during that visit. And voilà, here I am as an excited baby Spider!