The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

SJU alumna creates self-defense iPhone app


In light of some recent events on campus, with multiple female students being harassed by a man nearby campus, the issue of sexual assault has been highlighted here at St. John’s University— especially for female students.

Helen Anzalone Gordon, successful actress, third degree black belt and St. John’s alum from the class of 1986, was tired of continuously hearing of the victimization of college students.

With a growing daughter of her own, she said she felt that something else could be done; there had to be a better way to approach this issue.

Gordon decided to use her background as a third degree black belt to develop an iPhone and Android app to promote self-defense.

“Every woman has the ability to disable an attack enough to get out,” Gordan said.

In June 2013, Gordon launched her self-defense program You Can Fight! as a Smartphone app, created by a woman for the average young woman.

You Can Fight! is  available for $1.99 in the Android and Apple App stores. More information can be found at

“The moves contained with the app are incredibly simple, but highly effective,” Gordon said. “You definitely don’t have to be a black belt to do them.”

Gordon said she wanted something even her daughter could use. You Can Fight! uses short HD videos, step-by-step slide shows and multiple forms of presentation of four key and effective self-defense moves.

The app allows women to learn at their own pace, easily practice on the go and feel confident applying the moves in different situations should the need arise.

Along with the You Can Fight! Program, Gordon has several other pieces of safety advice for her fellow St. John’s students:

1.  Stay aware of your surroundings, always.

2. Avoid texting or rifling through your purse in public.

3.  Keep eye contact and walk with confidence; attackers are looking for easy prey.

4.  Don’t walk through campus, and especially around campus, at night alone.

5.  Don’t sit idly in your car, or use your steering wheel as a desk, always leave immediately upon entering your vehicle.

6.  Regardless of impressions, never invite someone you just met back to your dorm.

7.  Always pour your own drink, and if you leave it out somewhere, get a new one.

For more safety tips, you can follow Helen Anzalone Gordon on Twitter @dojochik or download the app in the iPhone app store.

“Although there’s no reason to fight for material objects if it comes down to your personal safety, you really don’t have to be a black belt to able to defend yourself,” she said.

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