by Matthew Taylor
On Monday, Feb. 7, the deep and thunderous sounds of student bodies hitting the floor echoed down the halls of Cal Poly Humboldt’s Recreation and Wellness Center. Instructor Mairead Sardina, the department’s Adventure Program Supervisor, pushed student after student onto large cushioned mats. She instructed them to copy her previously demonstrated method of proper falling. This was the second class within Sardina’s “Intro to Self Defense” workshop.
The course focused on utilizing multiple different martial arts techniques for the purpose of self defense and self empowerment. Lessons within the course included energy cultivation and energy negating practices. Students first began with a simple guided meditation by the instructor.
“We’re trying to push away the outside world,” Sardina said. “But the reality of meditation is it makes us more connected to the outside world, by being more connected to ourselves.”
As the evening progressed the lessons became more physical and hands-on. Lessons would involve activities such as swinging each other around with a red rope and fighting against the instructor whilst blindfolded.
“The human brain is amazing, it can do insane things,” Sardinia said. “If a parent can flip a car off of a child, we can protect ourselves.”
Many of the students laughed at each other as they attempted many of the strange yet effective techniques. An audible shock heard amongst them whenever they found themselves accomplishing a seemingly impossible task.
“[The classes have] been fantastic,” Theodore Lee, a major in wildlife conservation, said. “I’ve always wanted to learn martial arts and this made me understand the concepts.”
Another student and participant, Ada Erlewine, a biology major, explained that she had been searching for a self defense course to go to for awhile. She stated that her friend had found the course while checking the RWC website and told her.
“[I] wanted to be more confident in my body and my power,” Elrewine said, explaining why she joined. “[It’s my] first extracurricular outside of schooling since transferring during COVID.”
These were the last scheduled workshops, however, future courses may be offered if enough students express interest by reaching out to firstname.lastname@example.org.