Strengthening Sisterhood course teaches students on campus self-defense techniques

By Jude Souazoube and Miranda Parrish

Elm Staff Writers

Women in Business and ShoreFIT collaborated on Monday, March 6 to host Strengthening Sisterhood, a self-defense course, in Cain Athletic Center. The course was taught by experienced instructors from local Chestertown studio Phoenix Martial Arts, including Mark Pagano.

Even though the course was marketed to students on campus, Women in Business and ShoreFIT saw it as an excellent opportunity to also include the greater Chestertown community. President and Founder of ShoreFIT junior Nicole Chimezie said that getting involved in the community is a shared goal of both clubs.  

“We wanted, specifically, [instructors] from Chestertown so we could introduce our students and ourselves to members of the community and build that relationship,” Chimezie said. 

Attendees of the self-defense course learned techniques such as strikes, blocks, and escape maneuvers.  

Freshman Jess Barr said she left the event with a positive impression of the course and instructors.  

“I really enjoyed the class. It was very informative, and I feel way more prepared to defend myself if I need to,” Barr said. 

The hour-long course gave participants the opportunity to practice the techniques, demonstrated by the experts in pairs.  

Sophomore Tiana Edwards said that she enjoyed how simple the moves were to perform.   

“[It] made the class fun and easy,” Edwards said.  

Both clubs took to social media to spread the word about the event, in hopes of piquing interest and increasing turnout.  In an email sent out to Washington College students, faculty, and staff, President of Women in Business junior Silvana Tipson advertised the event as an “incredible opportunity for women on campus to learn practical self-defense techniques, develop confidence, and connect with other like-minded women.”  

Freshman Jordan Hyde, a member of the College’s women’s rowing team, saw the posts — and along with some of her teammates — decided to attend the course with a recruit they were hosting.  

“[There was] a great turnout. There were a lot of girls there, and I think everyone did a great job being open to it and being supportive about it,” she said.

According to Tipson, she thought it would be especially important to have a course like this during Women’s History Month.  

“I thought a class teaching women how to defend themselves in today’s world would be beneficial,” she said. “I believe every woman should have the knowledge to [know] how to protect themselves and shouldn’t have to pay to learn [it].”    

Women in Business and ShoreFIT strive to offer spaces on campus for women to feel comfortable and supported. Hosting Strengthening Sisterhood was another opportunity for the clubs to meet that goal.  

“[Spaces like this] allow women the comfort to learn how to protect themselves and others if need be, [all] in a supportive and understanding environment,” Edwards said.  

Barr, Edwards, and Hyde all said that they had positive experiences at the course and expressed a willingness to show up again, should ShoreFIT or Women in Business host another self-defense course.  

“It was a great experience and I recommend it to others,” Barr said. 

 Fortunately, students on campus do not have to wait until the next self-defense course to enjoy these organizations’ safe spaces. ShoreFIT continues to meet every Wednesday, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., providing a safe space for women and members of the LGBTQ+ community to feel comfortable working out in the gym.  

Information on Women in Business’ events and meetings can be found on their Instagram @wac_womeninbusiness or Campus Groups. 

Elm Archive Photo

Photo Caption: The executive boards for both organizations encouraged outside members of the Chestertown community to attend the event.

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