For women, self-defense is key

By Hannah Bucklin

For women across the world, prevention and protection do not only apply to sex education.

In order to show the USD community what self-defense involves, on Feb. 9 USD hosted the first of a five class women’s self-defense series offered on campus. For this first class, a group of 10 women showed up to learn the basics of the class.

Their teacher, Arturo Fiero, has taught numerous classes in jiu jitsu and self-defense. He explained the importance of women knowing self-protection methods, saying that they can easily find themselves in a dangerous situation.

USD initiated the self-defense class for women back in the early 80’s. Since then, the class has evolved to its current form.

“The current class ecompasses a variety of defense disciplines and styles, and really promotes self-awareness and confidence” said Serena Boyd, USD recreation programs manager.
USD is one of many institutions that promote the awareness of violence against women.

The organization Arming Women Against Rape and Endangerment said that all women are at risk of violent crime, and that the best way for them to protect themselves is prevention.

According to Fiero, if a woman is attacked, their attacker will be bigger and stronger than them, no matter how strong or athletic the victim is. If prevention fails and a woman is attacked, her best chance is to fight back. Fiero said that taking a self-defense class will relay the correct and effective ways to fend off an attacker.

Despite this, as he explained, self-defense is more than just throwing punches; it is about knowing how to safely escape from an attacker.

In the first class women learned how to land safely when pushed down from the front, back or the side. The class spent the first hour tumbling and focusing on how to position their bodies once on the ground. Although the material was new and uncomfortable, everyone quickly picked up on the moves, and they transitioned into learning how to stand up once on the ground.

This was where things got harder. The class became more difficult as Fiero explained the technique used to get up under the attacker after being knocked down. He said that this is often not an easy task because the attacker could be a 260-pound man. What makes it even more difficult, he explained, is getting up into a stance that is distant from the attacker.

During the 90 minute session the class learned the basics of self-defense, but Fiero said that there is a lot more to be covered.

As the class progresses, the women were told that they will learn more moves and become more comfortable with what they are doing.

He stressed that one cannot learn everything about self-defense in five classes and that it is something that needs to be practiced.

Fiero went on to explain that it is not only about the physicality of self-defense but also about prevention. He said that criminals will most commonly attack women when they are alone in a secluded area.

Since women are common targets, USD and Fiero are working together to promote awareness of violence to ensure that women have the proper knowledge and skills they would need if ever attacked.