- Assault can and does occur at Cal Poly
- ASI and Safer offering self-defense workshops
- Attendees react positively to workshop
- Safer and Cavaliere would like more participants
Safer and ASI have put forth a series of self-defense seminars here at Cal Poly. Christina Kaviani, Safer Coordinator, has played a role in starting these workshops.
“These workshops get student’s thinking what they would do if they were ever in a situation,” she said. ” And gets them wrapping their head around the idea that they might have to do something to protect themselves.”
How Safe is Safe?
Cal Poly is known as a relatively safe campus. According to the clery report given by the University Police Department, there were four cases of sexual offenses and two of aggravated assault committed in 2010-2012.
These statistics contradict with that of Safer’s crisis counseling statistics. In the spring quarter of 2013 alone, 14 individuals visited Safer for crisis counseling because of sexual violence.
Safer and ASI reached out to Daniel Cavaliere, owner of United States Academy of Martial Arts, to inform students of basic self-defense techniques.
Workshop is in Session
This workshop is geared towards beginners who don’t really have much experience with martial arts. Cavaliere acknowledges this and makes it one of his primary goals that these beginners walk away with useful information.
“This class, what I hope to accomplish is to take people who don’t have any background and give them some very simplistic and straightforward things that they can easily recall ten years down the road and have some go to things and give them a general strategy to implement,” he said.
Let’s Start With the Basics
He teaches the class through five basic elements:
- Avoid being struck
- Striking back
- Avoid restraints
- On the ground (Jiu Jitsu)
- Soft physical assertiveness and improvised weapons
Through each of these basic elements, attendees learn invaluable maneuvers that will help them be prepared for possible assaults.
Kailie Johnson, a first year architecture major, attended the self-defense workshop last week in the Cal Poly Recreation Center.
“I expected some general information on how to safely remove yourself from trouble situations and basic moves on how to get out of common attacking positions,” she said.
At the workshop, Cavaliere didn’t focus so much on how to remove yourself from the situation, but rather on basic moves to keep you safe when confrontation occurs.
“Nothing you do today is wrong. It’s all beneficial,” Cavaliere said to his students.
The course also emphasizes the idea that ‘space’ between you and the attacker is actually quite volatile. The closer you are to the attacker, the safer you actually are.
“As space gets closer and shrinks it actually can become safer,” he said. “Which is very counterintuitive then what you want.”
Michael Reyes, a fourth year sociology major, also attended the self-defense workshop last week.. There he practiced skills that he could potentially always remember.
“One technique that I”ll never forget were the wrist grabs and the elbow to chest movement,” he said. “It’s really effective for getting away if somebody has a good grip on you.”
The More the Merrier
There were only six participants at last week’s workshop. The class is designed for a larger group.
Cavaliere pointed out that the amount of people that show up varies. At earlier workshops he’s had over 20 students show up.
“With more people, I think the class receives a better experience because they feel more free to participate,” he said.
Christina Kaviani would love to see more people show up, but points out the amount of people that show up isn’t consistent with the requests she has received.
“We get a lot of inquiries about self-defense and then we don’t get as many people that show up,” she said. “Right now we need students that are really excited about it to start going and then talking about it because word of mouth is the strongest way to do outreach,” she said.
Despite how many people show up, Cavaliere’s loves being able to teach these beginners the ‘magic’ of martial arts and all that it encompasses.
“With a little bit of knowledge and know-how, you can pull off this magic,” he said. “So I love to see that ‘ah ha’ moment occur with people who especially don’t have any background.”