One of the most important things to know as a woman is how to defend yourself, especially for students. Fortunately, the Amigos Latinx Student Association (ALSA) is partnering with Wright State’s police department to host the Women’s Self Defense Class.
The class will take place on March 25 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the Rathskeller room in the Student Union.
This class is vital. Even if you don’t think you will need it, go. The goal and hope is to never need to use these skills, but you never know when it can save your life.
“Our [ASLA] goal is to try to unify all of those who feel a lack of identity and don’t know where to fit in; that’s where we come in. We’re here to help guide them,” said Krystal Diaz-Carire, president of ALSA.
“Having that space where people can speak their own language and have people to speak it with makes them feel more comfortable and are more likely to have a more joyous college experience. They have a place where they can call people family; we [ASLA] become their second family,” said Jennifer Pollard, treasurer for ALSA.
ALSA’s inspiration for hosting a self-defense class came from the realization that not everyone knows how to protect themselves in a dire situation. The class will cover basic strikes, techniques to get out of hand grips and more.
“[The police will] go over being aware of your surroundings, tips and how to think because self-defense is a different type of mindset. What’s going on over there? What is that guy doing? You have to get into that mindset and know how to get into that mindset,” Pollard said. Knowing that you are comfortable and safe by yourself is bigger than going to a few self-defense classes.
“Not everyone has that mindset of being aware of your surroundings. [If] you’re walking out of the supermarket and staring at your phone, you shouldn’t be doing that. You should be constantly aware,” said Diaz-Carire.
Many people have the mentality that nothing will happen to them or that they are in a safe area. In today’s world, you can never be too safe and can never take too many precautions.
“One of the reasons why it’s so important to hold this self-defense class is because not a lot of people will think about those kinds of things. In the world we’re living in today, you need to have that kind of a mindset just in case,” Diaz-Carire said.
It is extremely important for women to go into this class not only for the physical education of how to protect yourself, but also the mental preparation that goes into being able to protect yourself.
“Preventative measures are first and foremost. If you are aware of your surroundings, thinking ‘let me park here instead of here’, read tips and tricks online that say don’t park next to a van, don’t be on your phone, have your keys at the ready, things like that can help prevent it,” said Diaz-Carire. “If you do find yourself in that situation, try to think of weak spots on yourself that you wouldn’t want to get hit in that you can [turn around and] get to that person. If [you’ve] seen Miss Congeniality, there’s the scene where she teaches the self-defense S.I.N.G.: Solarplex [is] to elbow them in the ribs, [Instep] to stomp on someone’s foot, smack them in the Nose, and hit them in the Groin. Those are weak spots. If you disorient them enough, you can take off and you better scream. If you stay quiet, that’s when things happen. Always look for what’s around you to see what you can grab to make something bad happen to that other person if they try to attack you.”
“If [something] does happen, don’t panic. When you panic, you freeze, and when you freeze, you can’t do anything. You stop breathing, you stop looking, you stop everything,” Pollard added.
When it comes to situations where someone you don’t know asks something of you or seems sketchy, never confuse protecting yourself with coming off as rude. Women have been raised in the stereotype that they must be polite and gentle, but if you have a bad feeling, do not hesitate to put yourself before that stereotype and stand your ground.
“Follow your gut. If something feels wrong, it probably is wrong. Do not be afraid to say no. It’s one thing to please a person and be helpful and another thing to please someone and be taken advantage of,” said Diaz-Carire.
One of the keys to being able to protect yourself is also being aware in different places, such as your car. As soon as you get into your car, lock the doors. No matter if a parking lot/garage is busy or not, you never know who can be lurking in the shadows with bad intentions. Even when you are driving, it’s important to know how to maneuver out of a situation.
“[My past] driving instructor [said to] always make sure you can see the bottom tires of the car in front of you when you’re stopped at a red light. If someone comes up to you, you need to be able to turn out [so you won’t] be stuck there,” Pollard said.
Although this class is specifically geared towards women, depending on how it goes, ALSA hopes to have a coed class in the future.
Keep up with ALSA on their social media and watch for their upcoming events like the ALSA Birthday, Lunas De Agua celebration, April Craze and the 6th annual Amigos Latinx Gala in October.