A group of Kansas University students set aside their books Tuesday for a little hand-to-hand combat training.
On the syllabus: kicks, chokes, punches and other maneuvers that, if executed properly, will maim or kill.
"Baby steps," retired Army Maj. Mike Langley told the students as they gathered on mats in Robinson Gymnasium to practice one move. "You can break a man's wrist very easily, but don't do it."
Langley, a former U.S. Army hand-to-hand combat in-structor, led the course for KU Air Force ROTC cadets. When the cadets graduate, they will be commissioned officers. And some will find themselves in combat situations and will use such moves.
The one-day course was part of a leadership laboratory, a class for cadets to hone leadership skills.
"This is to help prepare them," said Capt. Corey Edmonds, commandant of cadets. "This knowledge right here might save their life one day."
But for many, Tuesday's course was the first of its kind. And they eagerly practiced the moves on one another.
"I'm particularly interested in the blow to the trachea myself - that one looks interesting," senior Dustin Johnson said. "A blow to the trachea would be pretty painful, I think."
Langley dispensed tactical tips as he instructed. If a fight moves to the ground, you need a technique, he said.
"Hope is not a method," he said. "One hundred percent of zero is still zero. If you have zero skill, I don't care if you have 1,000 percent enthusiasm. One thousand percent enthusiasm against a seasoned fighter is going to lead you to just struggle even harder as he kills you."
Adam Jenkins, a senior who wants to become a pilot, said the training is important.
"As the Air Force becomes more and more of a support force overseas, especially in the Middle East, I think it's definitely going to be more useful than it was in the past," he said.
Regardless of what the future holds, the class built confidence. Jaimie Wappelhorst, a sophomore, demonstrated a wrist grab with fellow cadet and sophomore Stephanie Koenig. The move uses pressure on the wrist to bring an enemy to the ground and, perhaps, break a few bones in the process.
"It's cool to know that you can defend yourself," Wappelhorst said. "It's good if you get attacked on the street."