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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Kickboxing Club Jabs Its Way to Grinnell

What if you found yourself suddenly under attack? How would you react? More importantly, how would you defend yourself? Fear not, for the kickboxing/self-defense club has a solution.

Photograph by Connie Lee. Johanna Foster ’15 [right] catches Allison Fischer’s ’15 [left] punches.

According to the club leader, Jasmine Gerritsen ’16, the kickboxing/self-defense club is designed to teach the ways in which one can defend oneself. While kickboxing can conjure up thoughts of intense combat and sparring, the set-up of the club revolves around functional tactics rather than fighting for sport. Open to students, faculty and anyone else who is interested, members in the club learn the basics of punching, chokeholds and handholds, and are frequently paired up with partners of different sexes, heights and weights.

“We use various equipment to catch punches and kicks, and sparring is [done] minimally—only when people have learned how to fight,” Gerritsen said.

While most students who are involved with the club were only recently drawn in by the fun and excitement of kickboxing, Gerritsen has been training for four years. A native of Los Angeles, California, Gerritsen shared a story about a time her and her brother found themselves in a grocery store that got held up. The overwhelming feeling of powerlessness she felt in that situation motivated Gerritsen to learn self-defense. She brought this passion to Grinnell when she started the kickboxing club last year.

In Gerritsen’s mind, kickboxing training doesn’t only give you practical skills; it can also change a person’s entire outlook on the world.

“I feel like [self-defense] is important for confidence and the way one walks about their day or even their life. For me, it’s made me a strong person,” Gerritsen said.

This sort of confidence is precisely what Gerritsen strives to instill in club members. She also believes that the confidence kickboxing cultivates can lend itself to other domains of everyday life, whether they be academics or hobbies.

“I want [members of kickboxing] to just learn as much as they can. I want them to learn how anyone with any type of physical ability can be powerful,” Gerritsen said.

Interestingly, club participation tends to spike during stressful times throughout the semester.

“It’s also a great way to let out frustration and emotions onto a bag,” Gerritsen said.

Building confidence, learning methods of self-defense and de-stressing: these are just a few of the aspects of kickboxing that will help you stand your ground.

The kickboxing club meets in the Bear Multipurpose Dance Studio on Tuesdays from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. and on Thursdays from 7 to 8 p.m.

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