Simren Shah
Associate Features Editor

Kyle Smith, Vice President and Secretary of Martial Arts, provided details about martial arts club and the importance of learning self defense.

“I am a black belt in Taekwondo, so coming onto campus I really wanted to use that ideology I have through Taekwondo to help others,” said Smith. 

Smith described the club as a “family atmosphere.” He said everyone who joins the club gets along and become friends. He also said the club is beginner friendly, and students from all skill levels and backgrounds are welcome.

The class sessions develop in phases as the semester progresses. The first few weeks consist of basic meditation, cardio, and fundamentals. Smith said he tries to accommodate everyones’ fitness levels in the workouts.

“Fundamentals include the basic punching, the basic kicking, and so forth,” said Smith. Smith encourages students to join the club at the beginning of the semester, however he is willing to help students catch up if they join later. 

Smith talked about the importance of learning self defense. 

“If someone sketchy comes at you, you’re calm. You know ‘if this happens to me, I know how to get out of that,’” said Smith.

Smith also talked about the positive mindset changes that occur in students who participate in martial arts.

 “When you’re in week one, some of the veterans and instructors like to push [students]. It seems impossible, but those impossible tasks are not impossible once you learn the basics. That whole mindset of ‘wow I can do this,’ really helps,” said Smith.

Martial Arts Club promotes and teaches self defense techniques that are valuable to college students. (All photos courtesy of Millersville Martial Arts Club)

Sessions consist of a lot of partner-work. Students learn the techniques, and then try them with a partner. After pairs go through the motions of the technique, instructors act as “aggressors.” 

“We make it so that the situation is as real as it can get inside the classroom,” said Smith. 

The purpose of the club is to prepare students for real-life scenarios where they might need to utilize self defense skills. Smith talked about a psychological component known as “fight or flight.” He said that learning Martial Arts prepares people to get away from dangerous situations as fast as possible or defend themselves if necessary.

“The self defense part is our number one goal. Any martial art is considered a form of self defense,” said Smith.

Smith talked about how martial arts is valuable because in many cases, technique can overtake physical strength. 

“You want to use your opponent’s momentum against them,” said Smith.

Smith provided a general synopsis of each class. 

Russian Martial Arts consists of hand-to-hand ground technique. Taekwondo involves the use of the lower body and kicking. Similarly, Kickboxing contains various kicking techniques alongside punching. Martial Arts club also offers Open Mat sessions. 

All classes are located on the bottom floor of the Fitness Center in the Student Memorial Center. The classes are offered on various nights throughout the week. Russian Martial arts meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8 – 9 p.m., Taekwondo is held on Tuesdays from 6 -7 P.M. and Wednesdays from 7 – 8 p.m., and Kickboxing is offered on Wednesdays  from 6 -7 p.m. 

Smith emphasized that the club is beginner-friendly and open to everyone. “If you come in with nothing, we can carve you out of stone,” said Smith.