When Fresno State’s Spotlight Events held its Safety and Self-Defense Workshop, teaching students how to stay safe on and off campus, the majority of the 36 attendees were women.
The organizers of the event, which was held on September 7, and the guest instructors who taught the seminar noticed this, and although the event was intended to ensure the safety of all students, they gave the priority to the dangers faced by women.
Bianca Palma, the student events coordinator for Spotlight Events who created the workshop, started by telling attendees that certain topics might be triggers for students. Topics included sexual assault, domestic violence and human trafficking.
“I feel like women can feel more vulnerable sometimes because it’s something that’s happened to them in the past or something that they’re afraid of,” Palma said, explaining why more women attended. at the event.
Several other attendees at the event shared Palma’s sentiment.
Family members Crystal and Karent Hernandez used to travel to Fresno State, but now that they live together in the city, they wanted to use the workshop to prepare and feel safer.
“We’re two girls in a town we haven’t been to. We live next door to Bulldog Village and kind of want to see Self Defense [workshop] and know how to defend yourself,” said Crystal, a senior at Fresno State who specializes in plant science.
Her parent, Karent, is in her third year at Fresno State, majoring in business marketing. She said she wanted to learn self-defense techniques when alone on the street.
“Sometimes I come home late and I’m scared. It’s just that I’m aware of my surroundings,” Karent said.
Dan Manriques, a Fresno State alumnus and Clovis Unified School District police officer, and William “Billy” Woodson, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt who also teaches MMA. taught on situational awareness, an important part of the workshop.
Both pointed out that environmental awareness and being aware of the people around you, whether on campus or off, makes a big difference when it comes to safety.
They also cleared the room of furniture to allow students to practice self-defense techniques with a partner. Woodson demonstrated some moves, with Manriques as his partner, on how to escape certain situations like when choked, pinned or grabbed from behind.
Woodson said the majority of the self-defense classes he teaches off campus are also predominantly female. The reason more men aren’t attending is “out of pride”, he said.
“They think they don’t need it. But most of those men will never end up in a fight anyway or be attacked like a woman would be,” Woodson said. “[Women] know they need it in life and their pride, in fact, it’s the opposite, brings them here because they know it’s a necessary thing.
Manriques graduated from Fresno State with a degree in history and served in the Marines for 24 years. He said he was grateful for what the university had done for him, and that’s why he and Woodson volunteered their time for the “safety and self-defense workshop.”
“We just give back to the community. Fresno State gave me a lot and I can’t deny that. I’ve met a lot of good people here, and it’s just the concept of giving back to Fresno State,” Manriques said.
He also agreed that men’s pride limited them.
“I think [Woodson] It’s true that sometimes we have to let go of our ego. Because there are many things that can be learned in this area. You might know everything, but even some of the best fighters are still learning,” Manriques said.
Palma said she was really happy to be offering a free self-defense class to Fresno State students and to see a great turnout for the event.
Palma is a third-year student at Fresno State, majoring in communications and minoring in English and mass communication and journalism.
She herself participated in the workshop and said it was fun, as many participants enjoyed performing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu moves.
“That’s what I really appreciate about these events, it’s the student experience. And it’s also fun to be part of that experience sometimes,” Palma said.
Fresno State students can learn more about Spotlight events on its website or learn about future events through its social media.