This quarter I had the pleasure of taking UC Davis’s self defense class. It was a very valuable experience; I think everyone should take it. Of course, everyone outside of Davis won’t be able to take this exact class, but I will endeavor to explain why this class was so great in the hopes that you find one like it!
1. Practical experience
Obviously, self-defense classes are great because they give you practical experience in defensive maneuvers. My class learned kicks, bob and weave, block and parry, palm strike, and more moves. One great part of this class is the chance to join other classes taught by the same teacher to practice the moves some further with kickboxing and other workouts. We used g=force mitts so that we could hit as hard as possible with harming each other. At first our hits were weak, but as the weeks went on, we steadily improved. Both the TAs and the teacher were invaluable to encouraging me and my classmates.
Another great part of this class was advice. Our teacher, Andrea gave us advice for defensive situations and standing up for ourselves in regular situations. She gave us examples of friends using self defense to get through mild to dangerous situations. Andrea told us not to be afraid to stand up for ourselves; be polite but firm. We can set boundaries for ourselves with family, friends, and at work to be happy and healthy. I loved how she would paint little scenarios to show us how to put her advice to use. The advice she gave was common sense, but it was applied information that I for one did not always know! I won’t ruin the surprise by giving away everything, but the most common themes were to pay attention and be firm in your position.
One particularly useful piece of information Andrea gave us is that pepper spray, keys, and brass knuckles don’t work as the panacea to self-defense because you must be trained to use them! Furthermore, these tools tend to be out of reach, so you won’t be ready for an attack. Therefore, it’s smart to learn about defending yourself with what you have on hand.
3. New pals
As you may have guessed the people were hitting during practice were our classmates. Initially this is an awkward way to meet new friends. However, the experience of trying new maneuvers and preparing for the world was a bonding experience. I may not have become friends with every girl in class, but I know I could count on them to help me out.
I took this class because I wanted to be able to defend myself from attackers as I set forth in the world. It also seemed valuable because I like travel and it is always good to be prepared for the unusual during travel. During the class I gained knowledge of moves to use on assailants, as I hoped. However, I also gained confidence. Confidence that I have the know how to stay way from dangerous situations and how to defend myself in them. I can stay calm and hammer fist way at any time.
5. The Chance to Fight Someone
Lastly, this class gives student the chances to hit both their classmates and police people. That is right, at the end of the quarter my class went up, individually, against self-defense trained police officers so that we would know what the real deal would be like. Some of my classmates found this experience, hitting classmates and police officers, exhilarating. They kicked some serious booty, I was impressed. I was more comfortable with working with peers than the police officers. However, I am intensely grateful that we had the chance to ‘safely’ experience a self-defense situation. It was an option to sit out the test, but it was very valuable to try the scenarios that the police set up, such as getting robbed at the ATM.