Wes Bauer of the Kingman Police Department had on as much protective equipment – arm and leg pads, body armor and facemask – as a hockey goalie during one recent morning.
But it was no game he was playing with fourth-grade pupils at the Kingman Academy of Learning.
It was self-defense.
Sharie Weber and Cpl.
Rich Keppner assisted physical education teacher Krista DiBlasi in the teaching the RADKids (Resisting Aggression Defensively) program this past Wednesday.
Keppner was inside classrooms to prepare children for the physical aspects of the training in the gymnasium with DiBlasi, Weber and Bauer.
Fourth-grade children are the target group for instruction because they are the ones "in the middle" between younger and older age children, Keppner said.
"All of the kids love it," DiBlasi said.
"In fact, the other kids are jealous because they don't understand why they can't do (the program).
"I have one (fourth-grade) girl with a broken arm who is crying because she can't participate."
Children are taught assorted elbow strikes, hammer fists and pepper strikes to the face as well as kicks to the shin and groin area, which can enable them to escape a would-be kidnapper or attacker.
"I've learned how to defend myself and what to do if someone tries to take me," said Cassie Richardson, a pupil in Mary Jenning's fourth-grade class.
"The idea is to scream, hit hard and get away."
The principles stressed by Bauer and Weber are yell loud (to shock the assailant), hit hard (to make him let go) and run fast (to a safe zone to find a trusted adult).
DiBlasi is a certified RADKids instructor as are the four Kingman officers.
Roughly 25 personnel from the police department, Mohave County Sheriff's Office, Kingman Parks and Recreation Department, Kingman Unified School District and KAL successfully completed course training this past spring.
Local agencies fund the program.
Vicki Taft is a parent and volunteer at the KAL.
She was present Wednesday and talked of what her daughter, Tina, has gotten out of the program.
"I've noted confidence being built in my daughter, along with her having an increased awareness level of strangers," Taft said.
"The children all seem to enjoy the program."
Children practiced strikes on a dummy Wednesday in addition to hitting and kicking Bauer, who served as RADMan.
"We're trying to educate the children to be alert to their surroundings and don't walk alone at night," DiBlasi said.
"We hope they won't need to use these (self-defense tactics), but they will know how if necessary and they won't become crime victims."