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Self-defense class empowers Islanders

Photo by Jennifer Cortez/ISLAND WAVES Self-defense instructor, Hershel Shoats, and an Islander practicing a self-defense move.


The first event to kick off TAMU-CC’s Sexual Asault Awareness Month was a self-defense class held on April 2.

This event in the Dugan Wellness Center was free and open to everyone. Hershel Shoats of Silverback Wellness LLC said he had agreed to teach students and faculty how to defend themselves in the event someone was to assault them. He and his master, Jason, along with his son, Logan, arrived to the Island to teach the art of Jiu-Jitsu.

“Jiu-Jitsu is the most uncomfortable art one will experience because of the situations you are put in,” Shoats said. “Jiu-Jitsu makes you challenge all the elements. In this art, one must learn how to turn the other way. What I mean by that is people turn one way, in jiu-jitsu, you learn to turn the opposite way and challenge your abilities against them and the world.”

Shoats and Master Jason said they teach Jiu-Jitsu at the Strong-Arm Jiu- Jitsu facility in the Flour Bluff area.

Junior sociology major Abigail Hernandez said she advised women to take self-defense classes in general.

“Not only does it help to learn self defense for any situation, but taking these classes help de-stress from a long and busy week,” Hernandez said. “It has always been fun to be in martial arts classes. There are many situations where you could be harmed, and it is best that we as men and women learn to defend ourselves. During this class, I learned two positions that could put my attacker (theoretically) under more harm then he is trying to do to me.”

Angela Walker, head coordinator for the SAAM events, said planning this event was easy because she had known Shoats and they were good friends.

“I have known her for some time and I am glad she is my friend,” Shoats said. “When she (Angela) had told me about wanting to do this for student awareness, I couldn’t pass it up. I owe it to my friend and I owe it to men and women to teach this art to the best of my ability.”

Shoats said he has four years of experience and continues to strive to teach Jiu-Jitsu. Shoats discussed his past just briefly. He said he has seen the world in many different perspectives and said he had some advice for students.

“If there is anything I can advise to students is to please be open minded and humble when considering on taking a (Jiu-Jitsu) class,” Shoats said. “Like I have said before, this art is the most uncomfortable art you will experience because of the situations you are put in. In Jiu-Jitsu, your mind is being challenged in different ways you never thought could be possible.”

Sexual Assault Awareness Month activities continue this month. Today, a “Paiting for Awarness with Sofia” activity will be held in the UC Bayview room. The “Islanders Race to Zero,” is scheduled for April 20th in the Hammerhead Parking Lot, with events beginning at 6:45p.m. Finally Denim Day is set for April 26 from 10a.m. to 2p.m. on the East Lawn.


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