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Breaking a sweat and building confidence

A fundamental jab./Haley Klassen
A fundamental jab./Haley Klassen

UR Fit implements women’s only self-defence

The University of Regina UR Fit program is doing things a little bit differently this year. Based on feedback gathered last year, the university implemented various new fitness classes. One of the new fitness classes requested from women was a self-defence class. Now, every Thursday afternoon, groups of women gather in the wrestling rooms to practice jabs, holds and takedowns.

The class has been popular this semester and both classes are filled up. Luckily, I fit the criteria for the class, so I decided to check it out.

I didn’t know what to expect, as I know little about self-defence techniques and martial arts. We started the class with a warm up led by instructor Derrick Tyson. Tyson demonstrated various different striking moves and the class followed along, getting a good number of reps in. Soon after, the class was split up into groups where we practiced our striking on punching mitts and worked on takedowns. The highlight of the class for me was feeling how strong my strikes, with proper technique, were. After finishing my first ever self-defence class, I sat down with another first-timer, Erin Tyson, as well as the instructor, to get their opinion on the new program. For instructor Derrick, the class is not about violence, but about the craft and technique.

“I’m not a violent person at all. For me, the most important part with even taking martial arts in the first place was more the art, you know, that’s what it is.ˮ

Although the class is labeled as a self-defence class, it is ultimately the practice and repetition of techniques from a well-respected sport. Once you try these techniques properly, you realize immediately how powerful they are.

As newcomer Erin suggests, “The more they struggle, the stronger you are and actually the better the techniques work.”

Although the class is focused on protecting oneself, it is clear that the class is also about building confidence, practicing discipline and, of course, getting a workout. As an athlete, a class like this would be very complimentary to other fitness regimens, particularly if you are looking to gain strength on the non-dominant side of your body.

Currently, the class is only offered to women, and both Derrick and Erin agree that, while it’s important to offer an exclusively female class, it is also important to open other classes up to everyone.

“I think it’s still important to offer a women’s only class because women may feel safer coming to a women’s only class to learn some of the skills, but I think it’s great to open it up to me and to everybody so they have the opportunity to learn those skills too.”

The skills learned in this class are universally beneficial and should not be offered to women only. Fortunately, the UR Fit has responded to the complaints regarding the exclusiveness of the class and is implementing additional classes next semester. Registration opens for continuing women’s self-defence class, a male and female class and an additional women’s-only class. Classes for next semester start January

About Suzanne Barber