Empowering women with self-defense

Above: Dr. Toks Oduwole and Jonathan Angel speak to their Women's Self-Defense class.

By Jessica Villalvazo

With nearly three months down, 2017 has been a year of protest for women and a strive for rights and equality. More specifically, March is a month dedicated to bring awareness to womens' issues around the world.

March 8 was a day for people to celebrate National Women’s Awareness Day and attend a Women’s Self-defense class sponsored by the President’s Equity Council.

Sandra Collins, professor of Biology at Chaffey College, was one of the individuals in charge of the event. Collins’ idea of holding the class was to help empower women and honor Women’s Day. Future women-related events will take place to help women with issues such as changing a flat tire or being able to speak one-on-one with prominent female leaders.

Dr. Toks Oduwole was the instructor for the class. In addition to his Ph.D., Oduwole is also a professor of Kinesiology and a counselor at Chaffey. He teaches martial arts in his Kinesiology 31 class.

“We thought we should do something to empower women, to help with confidence, mind body and spirit," he said.

Dr. Oduwole’s class centered among tips and advice to bring one to safety or to protect oneself, but of the many topics discussed, a major lesson to be learned was in regards to the adjustment of your mindset. He noted the two types of mindsets we are likely to obtain; fixed and growth. With the fixed mindset, you will have a harder time surviving, as you teach yourself that you will not be able to defend yourself because you lack knowledge in certain areas. The growth mindset allows you to understand that with effort, you can achieve and learn what you set your mind to.

“In our society today, things happen and you don’t have to be a black belt, you don’t have to be a Bruce Lee, but as long as you can do one or two things to escape from that situation, that is empowering,” Dr. Oduwole said.

Jonathan Angel, was an additional instructor for the self-defense class, helping Dr. Oduwole perform step-by-step demonstrations.

“It’s important for everyone to know how to defend themselves because it’s true, no one is going to help you, no one ever does,” Angel said. “Don’t be scared of being hurt, just survive.”

He said it is essential not to advertise yourself as the victim, to be aware of your surroundings and to know the difference between being brave and being foolish. If you believe that someone is going to be there to help you, chances are you will not make it. Safety is the most important, and you should always trust your gut feeling.

“One or two things could change the course of history or the course of your life, rather than being a victim,” Oduwole said. “You’re always going to remember that if you become the victim, for the rest of your life. So if there’s one or two things you could do to stop that from happening, then that is great.”