Just kicking’ it: Program teaches women self-defense

A free self-defense class was held Tuesday night in the Bill Daniel Student Center to provide women with moves that they can use in real-life situations. Josh Aguirre | Multimedia Editor

By Madalyn Watson | Staff Writer

The free ‘Hit like a “Girl”’ self-defense class taught women several self-defense moves that they can use in real-life situations at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday in the Bill Daniel Student Center.

Hosted by the women of the Alpha Eta chapter of Hermandad De Sigma Iota Alpha Inc. in conjunction with the women of Gamma Alpha Omega, participants learned strategies to keep themselves safe.

Dallas senior Kylie Smith, mixed martial arts instructor for Group X, taught different kicks, punches and ways to dodge punches while keeping the mood light with several jokes and connecting with each woman in the class.

“There are some statistics published by different police departments about how they’re going to attack. So I taught them how to strike, how to defend and how to dodge. And just a couple of other movements, like how to get out of a close encounter,” Smith said.

Most of the moves taught by Smith were aimed to create distance between oneself and their attacker.

“The most important is to create distance between you and an attacker. You want to always be able to escape the situation. So if you get the chance to run, run,” Smith said.

Smith teaches that the most important takeaway from her self-defense classes is a sense of empowerment.

“There’s a lot of times, if you see how people’s body languages at first, whenever they’re striking, is that they have to have confidence and the strength within themselves to know, ‘I can fight back. I can defend myself. I am worthy,’” Smith said.

One of the main goals set by the women of Hermandad De Sigma Iota Alpha Inc. is female empowerment, according to Murrieta, Calif., junior and President Krista Cardenas.

“We were looking to find an event to help empower women,” Cardenas said. “I really like these workout type classes because of the more social aspect, but I also liked the whole idea of self defense.”

Cardenas said they wanted to make the theme of the event Hit like a Girl because of stereotypes about the limits of women’s strengths and abilities.

“I think a lot of times women are portrayed to be weak, and like they can’t defend themselves,” Cardenas said. “So I wanted to give the girls an opportunity to learn how to get out of these situations if they were ever to be put in one.”

The class was catered specifically to female students at Baylor to help them protect themselves in dangerous situations.

“There are a lot of things that happen on [college] campuses, and I just want girls to be safe going out and knowing those skills and be able to come home safe,” Cardenas said.

Although the mixed martial arts classes offered in the Student Life Center are not specifically for self-defense, Smith said that classes, like the ones she teaches, can help empower women and men at Baylor alike as well as an outlet for physical fitness.

Group X, Baylor’s extensive aerobics program that includes classes like mixed martial arts, has a $50 membership fee for each fall and spring semesters, but a $30 membership fee for the Summer, according to the Baylor Wellness website.