CAMDEN (WPVI) --First-year medical students are typically immersed in the fundamentals of anatomy, biochemistry and how to diagnose and care for patients. But at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University in Camden future doctors are learning more than medicine.
They're also being taught the basics of Krav Maga, a hand-to-hand, close combat fighting system developed for Israeli soldiers.
"We call this dirty Israeli street fighting. We're focused on self-defense, pure instinctive, reactive techniques that get you home safe at the end of the day," instructor Don Melnick said.
Cooper medical students are frequently involved in off-campus programs and activities. And whether they're in Camden or anywhere else, school officials want them to be prepared
"Part of it is us being proactive and just providing our students with some tools they may need in an emergency," Associate Dean Dr. Jocelyn Mitchell Williams said.
Instructors are teaching med students how Krav Maga uses punches, kicks, knees and elbows to allow a person to defend against an attacker.
"Thinking about it right now kind of freaks me out, but if it's life or death I guess I got to do what I got to do, right?" student Keisha Mulugeta-Gordon said.
"At the current moment, if someone were to come up to me, I don't know what to do now. Now, I feel like I have a better sense of myself," student Jessa Hernandez said.
The students hope they never have to use Krav Maga, but they like the idea of learning these skills, something they're not going to find in a medical book.
"When you think about self-defense you think weightlifters, bodybuilders, like you've got to have muscles and stuff, and I feel like this is stuff that I can conceivably be able to do," student Keerthana Krosuri said.
"I hope I'll never have to use it, but it'll be nice to have in my arsenal just in case," student Courtney Curran said.