For 90 minutes on Friday, nine female college and high school students learned self-defense using jiu jitsu in one of the Student Union Building ballrooms.
Female students learned how to diffuse situations, break holds, block punches and subdue attackers.
The event was the last part of the Real Sex Week, hosted by pro-life organization Students for Life. Other events included seminars about sex trafficking and healing after a sexual assault.
Bonifacio “Sonny” Garcia led the introductory class, utilizing his eight years of jiu jitsu experience.
Garcia said it is best to know hand-to-hand self-defense to “save yourself from a bad situation.”
“If you don’t really know what you’re doing with a can of mace or pepper spray, then you end up putting yourself in more danger,” he said.
Griffin Woolery, a junior studying population health and political science, said she came to Friday’s training to gain a “sense of self” and learn self-defense.
She said she feels okay on campus, but nighttime is the worst for her.
“I think it’s kind of terrible that...as a woman I feel like I have to do this even though I haven’t faced anything,” she said, adding that “the possibility could be out there.”
Garcia started the class by saying people with self-defense experience have a 90 percent chance of fighting against a possible sexual assault.
Asking the class what their biggest concern was, a student answered, “Walking by myself.”
Garcia told the class they must “pay attention” to their surroundings and discouraged walking with headphones in.
“Always be aware of your surroundings,” he said. “Even when you walk around a car...stay away, three to four feet from it.”
Garcia suggested students park in well lit areas and demonstrated how to use keys as an impromptu weapon.
“I hope that nobody has to be in that position. Hopefully, you can get saved or diffuse the situation,” he said.
Attempting to pick up his partner, Janice Barela, from behind, Garcia said to offset the attacker’s balance by wrapping a leg outside theirs and creating enough space to elbow them, then swiftly kick the groin.
“Don’t be nice about it, you don’t want them to reproduce,” he said.
Garcia told students to “break their arm if you have to” in order to defend themselves.
After demonstrating six techniques, Garcia told the class there is one important thing to take away from the program.
“The key to any of this, no matter what situation is, even if you have no idea what you’re doing is...confidence,” Garcia said. “The louder you get, the more they’ll back down.”
Woolery said the program was “a nice introductory course” and wants to continue learning jiu jitsu.
“I thought it was very in-depth, but still not too much to teach on the first time,” she said, adding that “it was a positive environment.”
Anthony Jackson is a freelance reporter for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @TonyAnjackson.