Self-defense classes are underway | External Affairs


When Becky Waters moved to Hillsdale, she was not certain how she would con­tinue pur­suing her passion for teaching self-defense. After several con­ver­sa­tions with Senior Christa Green, they formed a plan.

The result was a women’s self-defense class which meets on Thursdays from 3 to 4 p.m. in the Sports Complex. The class will meet from Feb. 6 to April 16.  

Waters has achieved the rank of 2nd-degree black belt in taek­wondo, is a black belt mentor, and a student of Krav Maga. After nearly a decade of teaching martial arts and self-defense, Waters decided that after moving to Hillsdale, the next step was to offer a class for women. 

Waters began her studies of taek­wondo with her sons and was quickly forced to employ the skills she learned. 

“Throughout the years my strong sons have always happily taken it upon them­selves to seize every oppor­tunity to see how suc­cessful they could jump out and scare me in public and private,” Waters said in an email, “From around corners, cars, behind doors, bushes, walls, in the ele­vators, and pounce, attack, wrestle, grab, pin, grapple-to see if I could, in fact, defend myself.” 

While the study of self-defense is important for men and women to learn, some­times learning in a single-sex envi­ronment is better. 

“It has been my per­sonal expe­rience that women thrive in an envi­ronment where we feel safe first,” Waters said, “I can easily teach a skill “hands-on” so that par­tic­i­pants expe­rience how the move feels, and then the issue is learning the skill rather than focusing on other factors.” 

Waters also believes that it isn’t her place to teach men how to defend them­selves.  While she can teach them street defense to some extent, men are better suited for teaching men. 

Green prefers the all women’s envi­ronment. 

“There is more comfort learning these skills from a woman who under­stands what it is like to be a woman,” Green said, “The per­spective and men­tality is more relatable in an all-women’s envi­ronment.”

Green said that Water’s teaching style also con­tributes to the success of the class. 

“She is kind but also hard on us because she hon­estly desires our well-being and safety.”  

Over the course of the 8‑week class, Waters offers a con­densed program of advanced levels of taek­wondo, studies of street defense, and Krav Maga. 

“I wanted to be trained in how to react in various unsafe sit­u­a­tions,” Freshman Lucy Cuneo said, ”Whether in running, con­fronting, or defending, I desired precise details and applicable tech­niques.” 

Cuneo did not have any pre­vious self-defense training but had always wanted to learn. 

Waters wel­comes any woman on campus to join the class, but with the under­standing that each class builds upon the last. 

“Each week pro­vides at least four new skills which build on pre­vious weeks as they become instinctive with the drills we do,” she said. 

Green believes that self-defense is a vital skill to know. 

“I enjoy how prac­tical the class is,” Green said, “We have not yet learned any­thing super fancy or complex, so these are moves I am con­fident I can do in the adren­aline of an actually threat­ening sit­u­ation.” 

The class empha­sizes con­fi­dence in awareness, what to do if sit­u­a­tions arise, and defense skills, all through engaging in prac­tical and sit­u­a­tional drills. 

“I believe all martial arts are great at teaching both char­acter and physical life skills, and this women’s program is not to compete with what’s already in place, but to sup­plement,” Waters said. 

At the core of her classes, Waters gets to share her Christian con­vic­tions. She is able to share her beliefs in how, “God values us and we are loved, created by Him for greatness to do great things.”