Woods teaches the importance of self-defense

Bertin Rodriguez

Myrissa Johns, News Editor

SelfDefense-2-SR Self-Defense-1-BRIn honor of Women’s History Month, Bakersfield College Student Government Association hosted a self-defense workshop, which was taught by David Woods, owner and instructor of Bakersfield Elite Martial Arts. The “Smart Sense, Self Defense” workshop was held in BC’s Fireside Room on March 6.
More than 15 students made an appearance throughout the two-hour workshop.
Melissa Baez, BC student, was a frequent volunteer throughout the course, explaining that she was very excited that BC was holding a self-defense seminar.
“Hopefully they have more free courses like this, because it’s crazy what you don’t know,” she said.
Along with the instruction of self-defense methods, Woods also dispelled many myths.
“Don’t use your keys to try to stab somebody, that’s for sure,” Baez said. “It hurt when I tried to do it.”
Woods allowed Baez to hit him while holding her keys between her fingers in order to demonstrate that this was not a correct way to protect one’s self. The demonstration proved that the myth could actually harm the person holding the keys, and could still have no effect on the attacker. Woods also showed students a proper technique to defend themselves with keys.
Woods was very active with the training, explaining to the students that he would rather they actually practice the methods being taught, because “la de da training,” as he called it, would not benefit a student if he or she actually fell victim to an attack.
Although Woods was very hands-on with his approach to training, he did explain that he is mindful of his audience and his training methods can differ depending on who his students are. For example, Woods instructs a free self-defense class at the Alliance against Family Violence and Sexual Assault every month, which might take a different approach than on a college campus.
“Some people are very aware of violence because of where they come from, and some are completely oblivious,” Woods said. “Either way, they all need to have a little more professional training and understanding of self-defense.”
Woods, who has been active in martial arts for more than 21 years, explained that although he loves training people in martial arts, he receives a special satisfaction from training women and children in self-defense, “so they don’t have to live their lives in fear.”
When invited by SGA secretary Erin Robinson, Woods said that he was happy to help.
“This is a perfect age group because a lot of these girls are just coming out of high school and they’re just becoming aware of the world around them, and not knowing all the dangers that exist in the real world,” he said. “So it’s a perfect time for them to kind of be exposed to this and get an idea of how to defend themselves before anything happens, while they’re still relatively young.”
Baez urged fellow students to get involved with any opportunities to learn how to protect themselves, joking that she discovered that she didn’t know anything about self-defense.
Woods mentioned his hopes that there will one day be a self-defense class offered at BC. He said that he would love to teach more students about safety. Unfortunately, to teach at a community college, one must have a master’s degree, which he explained there aren’t state-certified degrees for martial arts, although he hasn’t lost hope.
Students who would like to learn more about self-defense or martial arts are encouraged to call or visit Bakersfield Elite Martial Arts.