CU is providing multiple services to students and the Boulder community in order to raise awareness about assault and relationship issues.
Located in the Matroom of CU’s Recreation Center on Wednesday nights, the women’s self-defense class meets, according to the Rec Center’s website. It is one of the many options students have.
The class is offered twice every semester. Each class consists of six sessions, including the graduation class that involves “a fully padded fight,” said Larry J. Schwarz, the university’s program coordinator of Fitness and Wellness programs.
Schwarz said he is passionate about the services he and others offer at the university and said he thinks they help prepare students for potentially dangerous situations.
“It gives a chance for us to explain the reality,” Schwarz said.
Not all assaults are from strangers but many happen between those in intimate relationships and even in married couples. Short introductory classes to discuss many preconceived notions of assaults and harassment are offered at the university, Schwarz said.
The one-time, 90-minute classes are usually upon request by many sororities, student groups and residence halls, he said.
Schwarz said both this short, informational class, and the six-week defense course start off by introducing signs and cues that may help one’s safety.
The program runs from a progressive model, which parallels the different levels of assault. A lower level starts on a date or just meeting someone and details what to do if someone is getting too close to you and your personal space is being invaded.
“Telling people that they are too close or that you are uncomfortable is a form of self-defense,” Schwarz said. “You have the right to set boundaries, be vocal.”
The top of the progressive model is an attack. Schwarz said techniques will be taught to help increase awareness of a situation if an attack were to ever happen. This includes striking techniques, both while standing or lying on the ground, as well as stomping and hand techniques he said.
“It’s okay to hit someone in that situation,” Schwarz said.
Madison Eiss, 21, a senior and sociology major, said she is currently taking the course.
“It’s important to know how to defend yourself and it’s not all physical, it’s how to be assertive,” Eiss said.
Dennis Phelps, CU’s women’s self-defense instructor, said empowerment is among the values and issues the class covers.
“Empowerment is our goal for the six weeks,” Phelps said.
Helping participants walk around with more confidence in their everyday lives is another goal of the course, Phelps said.
Hien Nguyen, 22, a second year graduate student electrical engineering major, said after only a few weeks of the class, the class had positively affected her.
“It helps a lot,” Nguyen said. “It improves my confidence.”
Nguyen will graduate from the class in a few weeks, along with Eiss and their classmates.
“We hope that they never have to deal with this stuff and never have to use it,” Phelps said.
The fight, or graduation class, is video taped and compiled into a video by Jason Phelps, Phelps’ son, and is given to each student.
Trinity Moher, 21, a senior and Spanish and business major said she finds the classes very valuable.
“This isn’t something that is a waste of time,” Moher said. “Even if you never use it.”
Other resources that offer information and help regarding self-defense around campus include the Women’s Resource Center, Wardenburg Health Center, Counseling and Psychological Services and more.
CU’s student government is also working on incorporating women’s self-defense classes.
Allison Foley, a 22-year-old senior, psychology and media studies major, and CUSG’s vice president of external affairs, said she has big plans this semester. One is to offer a free session of women’s self defense.
“We are going to try to schedule a day,” Foley said.
Foley said she is planning on having the session in the Rec Center for anyone who is interested.
The women’s self-defense class is held every Wednesday night from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The next session starts March 9 and runs until April 20, excluding spring break. The cost is $32 and will include six weeks of training.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Elaine Cromie at Elaine.email@example.com