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Edinboro University & Northwestern Pennsylvania High School Journalism Competition: Third Place (Website)

Self-defense class offered at Villa Maria Academy

Self-defense class offered at Villa Maria Academy

On April 7, trainer Christopher Frits offered a two-hour self-defense and de-escalation seminar to introduce Villa students to basic self-defense moves. This class was offered in the Villa gymnasium, and it consisted of lessons on awareness, avoidance, de-escalation, and fighting off a potential attacker.

While Chris did emphasize that being prepared for a fight is important, he really stressed the fact that awareness and avoidance are the most important skills to have. He told the Villa students that if they ever feel unsafe in any sort of situation, they should trust their gut and get out as soon as possible. This is the easiest way to prevent any sort of altercation with another person.

After he went over these two qualities, he taught the girls some basic maneuvers to escape from being attacked from behind and on the ground. The girls practiced the moves on each other, and they tried each move as many times as they needed to in order to make sure they understood it completely. They also practiced kicking and striking an attacker, and Chris allowed them to practice these moves on himself while wearing protective padding.

Even though the class itself was only two hours long, the girls felt reassured that they knew some moves to keep themselves safe.

Junior Addie Stark organized the self-defense class and she is very proud with how it turned out.

“I chose to put the self-defense seminar together because I believe the benefits of self-defense extend far beyond knowing how to protect yourself,” Addie said. “It also raises awareness for violence against women and it makes women feel confident and empowered, which I thought was especially appropriate following Women’s History Month. I’ve known the instructor Chris for a few years now, and I knew he would love to extend his work to high schoolers. He has had a lot of success on the collegiate level. He is a really genuine guy, and I knew he would have such a positive impact at Villa. Feeling like you can protect yourself can also provide a lot of comfort to young women, and I wanted to share this feeling with my Villa community.”

Villa Maria science teacher Mr. McCall monitored the girls as they practiced the exercises that Chris taught them, and he feels very lucky that he got to help out with an experience like this.

“As the ‘self-defense’ dummy and model for how to defend yourself, I can say that I learned a lot,” Mr. McCall said. “It was a great opportunity to learn the basics of how to defend yourself in everyday situations that can absolutely happen. A lot of people may think that they can defend themselves or know what to do in a situation like that, but I can honestly say I don’t think they do because I had no idea. Since the young women at Villa are starting to branch out and live in society as they get older, I highly encourage more ladies to seek out opportunities like this to learn the basics and learn to defend yourself for situations that may happen in the not-so-distant future.”

Overall, the self-defense class was an important and eye-opening experience for the girls who attended, and the Villa faculty hopes to incorporate more lessons like this one in the future.

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About the Contributor
Olivia Buckel, Senior Editor-in-Chief
Olivia is the senior editor-in-chief of The Rambler. She was the junior editor of The Rambler during the 2021-2022 school year, and has written over twenty articles. She enjoys going to the movies, reading, and skiing in her free time, and hopes to pursue English at a four-year university.
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