WOOW and KSA to Offer Free Self-Defence Classes

The program, which will be open to all KPU students, begins Jan. 23
Paula Aguilar, contributor

KSA VP Student Life Natasha Lopes (Paula Aguilar)

Student-led feminist organization Women Organizing Opportunities for Women, in tandem with the Kwantlen Student Association, is giving KPU students the opportunity to learn self-defence techniques for free.

The program, entitled “Lunch and Learn,” will begin with a 45 minute crash course on Monday Jan. 23 at noon in the Cedar gymnasium on the Surrey campus, and will be aimed at students who might not be experienced in self defence. Notably, this program is open to all genders.

KSA VP Student Life Natasha Lopes, who is also an organizer for WOOW, says that she wants “as many students [as possible] to be able to touch consent culture or be a part of the movement.”

“Consent culture doesn’t just include women; it doesn’t alienate people. It’s everybody coming together for one cause—to change our culture from a very oppressive, very patriarchal society to something that welcomes all genders, all orientations, and just gives everybody equal opportunity.”

To this end, Lopes would like to see the self-defence classes become a regular event on the Richmond, Langley, and Cloverdale campuses as well.

“They’re free and they’re drop in sessions, so if you only have fifteen minutes, by all means attend, because it’s a drop in session … if you don’t feel comfortable in the sessions, you can leave.”

Five classes have been planned for the Surrey and Richmond campuses, with the first three teaching students about anatomy and physical reaction to impact, and the final two focusing on carrying through with the physical self-defence exercises.

The self defence classes are facilitated by a group called Wenlido, a not-for-profit group of women teaching self defence to women and their children since 1976. With so much experience behind them, Lopes felt comfortable trusting Wenlido to help “allow people to realize that they can take control over themselves,” as a part of the ongoing “Our Bodies, Our Voice” campaign.

“Issues with consent are everywhere,” says Lopes, “and what I’ve seen—just from within the student union world—is that a lot of student unions are running these campaigns because we all have the same issues. We all have problems with harassment on campus. You should never equate education to fear. And that’s part of what we’re trying to alleviate.”