Skye Sarac

There are so many reasons to take a martial arts class. It improves confidence as well as mental and physical stamina, and can provide an outlet for stress or mental health conditions such as anxiety. Much of martial arts requires an awareness of the mind and body, and this can improve focus and concentration in everyday life. Martial arts also increases serotonin levels in the brain, which is directly related to a reduction in stress and anxiety.

Fortunately, the NC State University Police Department has recently started a series of self-defense programs. The first class, called R.A.D. (Rape Aggression Defense Systems) is designed specifically for women, with the intent of providing them with the skills necessary to practice avoidance methods and defend themselves physically. There is also a class for men which focuses mostly on basic self-defense skills and avoiding confrontation.

However, these classes are only offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays and require pre-registration. While this class could be incredibly beneficial for women looking to gain self-defense skills in a structured environment, the design of the class could put students with limited availability at a disadvantage. Also, the class is only offered four times each semester, which prevents students from obtaining the full benefit of martial arts as a form of fitness.

One solution could be to offer a recurring self-defense class as part of the regularly scheduled group fitness classes with NC State Wellness and Recreation. This would allow students to take the classes on their own schedule, and a variety of time slots could accommodate more students without the pressure of pre-registration.

Additionally, taking the class in a more casual environment could emphasize the connection between martial arts and fitness, as well as the ways in which students can incorporate the components of self-defense into their everyday lives. While the university does offer a kickboxing class two times per week, this does not offer the same benefits of self-defense, which is defined as the ability to defend oneself from harm and requires a significant amount of personal awareness and practical knowledge.

In addition to the clear benefit of being able to defend oneself, martial arts also has great benefit as a workout. Most forms of martial arts encourage flexibility and balance, and many incorporate muscular strengthening and even cardio. A class that combines these different elements of fitness might be useful for a college student who is trying to improve their overall health and wants to get in a great workout while learning valuable and practical skills.

A collaboration between NC State Recreation and Wellness and the NC State police could allow more students to take part in martial arts, and would equip them with the tools they need to defend themselves. A class which combines elements of self-defense with physical fitness would allow students to try out martial arts and acquire all of the physical, emotional and personal benefits, as well as practical skills.