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Watch out, would-be kid­nappers and thugs of Hillsdale. Junior Anna Shoffner knows “how to bust someone’s eardrum,” and she jogs with a pen so she can stab you if accosted.

Shoffner is sophomore Mar­shall Gobba’s student in his “warrior training,” a self-defense class he is offering. Gobba, a 10-year Marine Corps veteran, worked in avi­ation elec­tronics, and as a Marine security guard, and in the intel­li­gence field while in the mil­itary.

“I’m showing her [Shoffner] a few things that I know that would be suitable for a lady who was accosted by someone bigger and stronger than her,” Gobba said. However, he said his class is not just for girls.

Shoffner said, “I feel like a boss. It makes you feel more con­fident and aware and capable.”

Gobba empha­sizes that this “warrior training” is not about learning to fight in a pro­longed hand-to-hand encounter, rather, it’s about getting out of trouble as quickly as pos­sible.

He doesn’t think he would be able to add any­thing to someone’s reper­toire who has taken Mixed Martial Arts lessons or earned  mul­tiple belts in a martial art. His lessons aren’t about that. But Gobba said that even better than promptly escaping a fight is to not enter a con­flict in the first place, so he empha­sizes sit­u­a­tional awareness.

“I also want to stress mindset and mental con­dition, so we use a book, ‘Prin­ciples of Self-Defense,’ by Jeff Cooper,” Gobba said. “It’s not about moves, it’s about mindset.”

Moves are important too, so, teaching people to focus on hard or soft targets, Gobba stresses attacks to sen­sitive areas of the body like eyes, groin, solar plexus, eardrums, joints, exploiting vul­ner­a­bil­ities.

“I would define the approach as pre­cision and vio­lence of action in the moves,” Gobba said.

“He’s been teaching me how to punch, block, escape holds, and pin­point areas to attack with elbows and fists and kicks,” Shoffner said.

Gobba said there isn’t one par­ticular style that his training could be labeled under, but it comes out of the blend of tech­niques in the Marine Corp Martial Arts Program and a little karate he learned from a sensei back home in Chico, Calif.

As for the lessons them­selves, they begin with a warm-up of running or cal­is­thenics and con­di­tioning exer­cises.

“You don’t have to be fit, but you have to put forth the effort and want to get fit,” Gobba said.

Gobba’s lessons use the heavy bag in the George Roche Sports Complex by the indoor track and a punching bag from the security office.

“He’s a great teacher. He’s patient with me, but he pushes me as far as we can go,” Shoffner said. “He’s chal­lenging, but super-encour­aging, and he always has time to answer ques­tions about any­thing.”

Gobba said he wants to keep offering self-defense lessons “as long as there are people inter­ested and I have the time for it.”

“I enjoy doing it and enjoy teaching it,” he said.

He doesn’t charge for his lessons, but said he is trying to raise money for a charity called “Smile Train,” which helps children with cleft palates in unde­veloped coun­tries.

“If people want to make a donation to help me with that, they are welcome to do that,” Gobba said.

If you’re inter­ested in taking lessons from Gobba, he can be con­tacted at his Hillsdale email address.

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From Portland, Oregon. He serves as the paper’s Associate Editor. Meadowcroft is majoring in history and participates in theatre and is on the editorial board of the Tower Light literary publication. Meadowcroft has also worked for the American Spectator. He hopes to write after college on arts and culture, international affairs, travel, theology, and politics. email: mmeadowcroft@hillsdale.edu | twitter: @micahmuses