Self-defense class can offer more than safety

The Department of Public Safety and the Student Government Association hosted a women’s self-defense class on Feb. 27 and will be hosting another from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on March 8. The event will be held in Young Ballroom.

“One of the reasons we do the women’s only versus the men’s is because there’s been some studies released on self-defense, and women are more comfortable in a setting with other females,” Chief Joshua McMillian, head of the Department of Public Safety, said.

“I think it’s good for it to be just women, because there are gonna be girls who might be interested in coming who may have gone through certain things,” Kenzie Nash, a rehabilitation science major from Sherwood, said. “I feel like if a woman did want to bring a man, though, he should be welcome to participate with that woman.”

The event is designed with women in mind, and features demonstrations from Asia Pettit, a mixed martial artist and a full-time physical health and wellness major at Arkansas Tech University originally from Pueblo, Colorado.

“Her role is, she’s kind of showing females the techniques and how they work and what to expect,” McMillian said. “She can talk from the female’s perspective when it comes to self-defense and provides a really good, down-to-earth view as well.”

When not doing physical demonstrations, Chief McMillian and Pettit will give short, verbal presentations over topics such as how to prevent being seen as a potential victim.

“We’ll do a short introduction, introduce the instructors, talk a little bit about personal safety, go into some self-defense techniques, like what to do if you’re standing, and we talk about strikes and techniques to work from a distance,” McMillian said. “Then we go into, from there, another short presentation on residential safety, vehicle safety, how not to be a victim, and then we go into how to break from holds.”

They will then launch into a presentation about sexual assault and rape prevention, followed by another demonstration over how to break free if someone has pinned you to the ground.

It’s in the final minutes of the program that students who attend may ask questions over specific situations and speak one-on-one with Pettit or McMillian.

The end goal of this program is to increase self-confidence and to have the women who attend leave with valuable information and skills, McMillian said.

Despite the serious nature of some of the topics discussed, McMillian wanted the women to feel comfortable, relaxed and enjoy the session.

“I had a great time. It was nice participating in an event that I felt like really helped me, but it was also really light, it wasn’t a very serious event,” Nash said.

Elexis Harper
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