WKU offers martial arts course to promote campus safety

Francis Wilson

To make students feel safer on campus, Preston Center is opening its multipurpose room to offer a self-defense course to the public.

The eight-week Self Defense of the Wing Chun System training course is taught by Quentin Hollis, associate professor from the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences. The program aims to develop participants’ confidence by increasing their strength and stamina and giving them practice strategies to avoid conflict.

“The main objective is to equip students, faculty, staff or whoever is taking the course with an understanding of how to defend yourself mentally and physically from potential violence,” Hollis said.

According to Lindsay Thomayer, a fitness coordinator at Preston, the techniques taught in the course are based off the Wing Chun system of martial arts.

“It’s all about using certain skills and techniques to overcome any type of defender if anything were to happen,” Thomayer said.

Wing Chun is a form of martial arts that dates back hundreds of years. This particular form of martial arts was originally developed by a female and is designed for smaller figures to defend themselves against larger opponents.

Participants have plenty of opportunities to develop certain skills and techniques that can help them, according to Hollis.

“We do conditioning training … when we work on certain types of punches, certain types of kicks and elbow strikes,” Hollis said. “We are all sweating and doing rounds like a boxer.”

The program aims not only to educate participants in self-defense methods but also to train them to avoid conflict by being more aware of their surroundings — a principle of Wing Chun.

According to the campus police department’s time log, there have been four accounts of assault on or near WKU campus within the last six months.

“Awareness is key,” Hollis stated. “That is a thing we struggle with because we are distracted with iPads or iPhones as we walk around. It can be very dangerous at times.”

The course is open to all WKU students, faculty, staff and Bowling Green community members.

In previous years, the class has attracted a diverse group ranging from international students and football players, to college deans and bus drivers.

The class is kept small, usually to a dozen participants per session, and is tailored to give participants individual attention to help them build skill and confidence.

“So many students are surprised by how many ways they can defend themselves without getting physical,” Hollis said. “Most of your defense comes from your mouth or from your body language.”

The course also helps educate students about self-defense law, ensuring that if they ever encounter a threatening circumstance, they act appropriately and effectively.

“I’ve had students come back to me and say that they have used the techniques, and they have worked,” Hollis said.