On Friday, Feb. 12, Kean's Programming for Unique and Lively Student Experience (P.U.L.S.E.) and the Center for Leadership and Service (CLS) held a virtual self-defense class with the We Save Lives Fitness Gym in New Brunswick, NJ in honor of One Billion Rising: Violence Against Women via Zoom from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Susan Figueroa, managing and assistant director for community service and civic engagement began the event with giving a history on the One Billion Rising campaign and how it came about.
One Billion Rising is a campaign to end violence against women worldwide and is considered to be the largest of its kind in history through the expression of joy, art and community. The campaign began its launch on Valentine's Day 2012 which served as a call in response based on the statistic of there being one in three women that will either be beaten or raped in their lifetime. As there are seven billion people on earth, that accounts to about over a billion women and girls being faced with physical, sexual, emotional and psychological abuse.
The class kicked off with Mercee Smith and his pupils, a martial arts instructor who has studied the art of fighting for over seventeen years.
During the virtual class, Smith and his pupils completed many demonstrations for a person to use if they ever find themselves in a crisis situation.
Attendees watched in awe as Smith and his pupils completed the demonstrations with many of them asking questions in the process.
Techniques such as deflecting punches, reversing a choke, avoiding being lifted from the ground and targeting specific weak points of an assailant were displayed.
Demonstrations for both women and men were showcased. They were not overly complex as Smith stressed the importance of self-defense being a simple art anyone could utilize to their advantage.
"Any form of self-defense is going to be basic because the easiest and most simplest techniques to remember are always the most effective," said Mercee. "It is easy to pick up on self-defense."
Once the demonstrations concluded, information on the gym, the lessons that were conducted and a martial arts group that Mercee runs were given to the audience.
For more information regarding the self-defense classes that the We Save Lives Fitness Gym offers, users can follow and message them on Instagram under @WeSLFitness.