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Students learn defense in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness month

CSULB housing residents learned tricks and tips to protecting themselves against predators.

Four+students+practice+self-defense+on+the+Los+Alamitos+Lawn+Tuesday+evening.+The+event+was+held+by+the+Student+Recreation+Wellness+Center+in+honor+of+Sexual+Assault+Awareness+Month.%0A
Four students practice self-defense on the Los Alamitos Lawn Tuesday evening. The event was held by the Student Recreation Wellness Center in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Four students practice self-defense on the Los Alamitos Lawn Tuesday evening. The event was held by the Student Recreation Wellness Center in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Jessica Jacobs

Jessica Jacobs

Four students practice self-defense on the Los Alamitos Lawn Tuesday evening. The event was held by the Student Recreation Wellness Center in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Jessica Jacobs, Staff Writer

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Cal State Long Beach housing residents bowed and saluted one another as they began a game of capture the flag that was meant to teach them a life lesson.

In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a group of six women gathered on the Los Alamitos Lawn in Hillside College to learn self-defense skills from expert Michael Freeman, the Student Recreation Wellness Center aquatics and inclusive recreation coordinator.

The goal was to apply the skills they learned from the self-defense class to protect their flag, while simultaneously pulling off their opponent’s flag. The main tactic used in this game was called “patty cake.” This was a strategy in which two people high five one another while facing each other to practice form and blocking techniques.

Freeman said he was originally inspired to learn self-defense at the age of 12 after being bullied in school. He learned Tang Soo Do, a Korean style of martial arts, and has since been accumulating more skills for more than 20 years. As Freeman got older he started practicing meditation and tai chi.

Freeman introduced three steps to stay safe. Step one is to be invisible. One can do this by staying aware of one’s surroundings and avoiding bright clothing. Step two on Freeman’s list is to keep distance from strangers and step three is to fight if one is about to be attacked. He also suggests acquiring pepper spray to flee from an attack..

Sophomore animation student Karis Jiang felt equipped with her training after taking the self-defense session.

“As an art student you have classes for six hours, and so you often get out of class late,” Jiang said. “One time a guy followed me almost all the way back to the dorms.”

Jiang was not harmed during the encounter, but she said that she could apply the tactics learned at this event if she was faced with violence in the future. These tactics consist of protecting one’s center line: the head, the heart and the groin. One can do this by blocking another person with their arm positioned at a 90 degree angle. Their hand should be flat and their thumb must be lined up in front of their eyes. Another tactic is to move in circles, rather than stepping back. This is so that one can maintain manageable footwork and not stumble over their own feet.

Freeman also advised the residents to learn their opponents’ weakness in order to better their defense. For example, Freeman remembered his boxing days when his opponent, who was shorter than him, struck him with an uppercut. Ever since that experience, Freeman matches his height to his opponent.

“Self-defense is about reclaiming one’s own personal power,” said resident assistant Chiara Metellus, a junior majoring in communications studies. “Our personal space should always be respected, and we should prepare ourselves for any situation when our space is threatened.”

The housing event was coordinated by Metellus in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness month. She said she wanted to program an event that would equip students with ways to defend themselves when they don’t have any weapons besides their own body.

Metellus advertised the program by posting the event flyer on BeachSync and throughout the halls of residential building Los Cerritos, which is located in Hillside College.

Although only women attended this event, Metellus encourages men and other identities to participate in self-defense classes as well because “assault sees no gender.”

 

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