By Phoebe Alwine | Reporter
The McLane Student Life Center offers exercise classes to help students feel safer on and off campus. The FitWell program has classes such as Mixed Martial Arts, taekwondo, boxing and kickboxing for students to learn about self-defense.
The MMA class is a full-body sport that tones and strengthens muscles. Erik Carrera, FitWell’s MMA instructor, said he discovered the impact that MMA can have when a peer was bullied in school and was able to use what he was taught in MMA class to defend himself.
“[MMA] focuses more on self defense, takedown against bigger people, smaller people, and then if need be, submitting to them,” Carrera said.
Carrera said that students at Baylor can benefit from taking defense classes because it will educate them on protection techniques and increase self-confidence when on and off campus.
The Taekwondo FitWell class is fast-paced and focuses on strength, endurance and balance. FitWell Taekwondo instructor, Victoria Whitworth, said her class begins with basic techniques and advances gradually. She said the class is a full-body workout and places emphasis around self-defense techniques.
“We’re really focused on kicking and proper forms,” Whitworth said. “[Students] learn how to kick and how to apply them if needed.”
These self-defense focused classes are important for both male and female students. Whitworth said it’s important for everyone to come to ensure campus safety.
“More boys come than girls, but it’s important that everyone comes to some classes.” Whitworth said. “There are a couple professors that come too.”
Carrera and Whitworth said that in classes like theirs, students can learn a strong powerful stance and different blocking techniques which involves preventing unwanted contact from the offender. The classes also teach where to effectively strike back and how to free yourself from threatening holds.
“Taekwondo is a big confidence booster, which is why you see a lot of kids growing up in the sport,” Whitworth said. “It’s controlling your feelings when you’re fighting and applying that into your kicks.”
Whitworth said that classes like these can also increase safety for students off campus as well. She said there are many threatening aspects for young students, and being confident to fight if need be is crucial.
Carrera said that during his classes, he goes through “what-if” scenarios to educate people on how to react in unsafe circumstances.
“I teach on issues like being in an abusive relationship, being followed or someone bothering you,” Carrera said. “We kind of hit worst-case-scenarios, because we don’t want any of it to really happen.”