Safety classes go beyond self-defense

Seminars for girls, women also focus on thinking


Lone Tree Councilmember Jackie Millet was robbed at gunpoint 20 years ago. After she took former Lone Tree Police Office Nicole Sundine’s safety class, she believes she could have prevented the incident.

Sundine, who will teach three safety seminars in Lone Tree later this month, taught Millet to evaluate and plan a response for such threatening situations.

“We were not paying attention to our circumstances,” Millet remembered. “Where we parked the car was really dark. When the kids (who robbed us) started walking up to us, we could have crossed the street. There were certain things we could have done to avoid it.”

Millet learned so much from the seminar she’s taking it again this month, this time with her 13-year-old daughter.

The three free seminars are all at 6 p.m., on Feb. 21, 26 and 28, at the Lone Tree Arts Center. The Feb. 26 class is for parents only, while the other two are open to girls over 12 and women.

Sundine now lives in Virginia and is flying back to teach the city-sponsored classes, which go far beyond standard self-defense tactics.

“The interpersonal is a huge part I really think is lacking from most personal safety classes,” she said. “These are things women have been taught and things they haven’t: How we allow people to treat us, how we stop people from engaging in unwanted behavior, (taking) nonverbal cues as well as verbal.”

Most women likely can’t win a fight with a man because of physical disparities, she said, but that doesn’t mean they’re helpless.

“We’re talking about doing whatever it takes to break free or get away,” she said. “Women do have the ability to do that, and that does not have anything to do with size or strength.”

First, a woman must know how to take action.

“One of the biggest things women fear is they’re going to freeze,” Sundine said. “I have specific techniques I teach them to help them overcome that freeze response. If I teach them how to strike, punch and break free when they need to, it’s only going to help them if they’re psychologically prepared to do that.”

Millet came away with Sundine’s seminar with insights that can be used in many situations.

“You have to know what you’re going to do when you’re put in a position where you’re uncomfortable,” she said. “Anytime anybody is trying to rush you into a decision sooner than you’re ready, they’re trying to control you. Slow down, and figure out what’s in your best interest.”

And listen to feminine intuition.

“If it doesn’t feel right, then change what you’re doing,” Millet said. “Girls are taught to be nice or not make anybody else uncomfortable. When an elevator door opens, and you don’t feel comfortable getting in with a man, there’s nothing wrong with letting the door close.”

For more information, visit the city’s website at


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