Women’s History Month Self-Defense Class Set for Friday


The University of Akron Police Department offers a variety of services, both on and off campus, such as women’s self-defense courses, campus escorts and assistance with vehicle issues. (Photo courtesy of The University of Akron Police Department)

By Megan Parker, News Contributor

As a part of Women’s History Month, Detective Angela Paonessa and Officer Kevin Kabellar, of The University of Akron Police Department, will be leading a self-defense class to teach others simple techniques and increase awareness of what dangerous situations are.

Sponsored by the Student Wellness Recreation Center and UAPD, this event is set to take place on Friday, March 9, 2018, from 4-6 p.m. in Studio A of the Student Wellness Recreation Center.

Officer Kabellar said he tries to promote having “mental preparedness and awareness” of dangerous situations the most. If people are given the proper skills and tools needed to avoid confrontation, the possibility of using self-defense techniques decreases.

“We can’t teach you to become a ninja or a UFC fighter in two hours,” Officer Kabellar said. “So we are going to help you be a little bit smarter and avoid a lot of problems before they even start.”

All students are welcome to attend. However, the content of the class is focused more on women and the possible dangerous situations they may face, Detective Paonessa said.

Having both men and women in the class can possibly cause women to become uncomfortable with learning self-defense techniques or a competition may arise between the two groups, Officer Kabellar said.

“Our classes are [about] giving permission for women to fight back and to not be victims,” Detective Paonessa said. “For them to be strong and to be empowered to do what they need to do; to just embrace who they are and the strengths that women have.”

Besides self-defense techniques, the class also teaches how a person can be a good witness; whether through contacting the correct emergency services or observing the situation, Detective Paonessa said.

Officer Kabellar said people should not be afraid to attend in fear of not being able to engage or learn because the class includes both physical and non-physical aspects.

“Everybody gets something out of the class, whether [they] choose to participate fully or choose to listen,” Detective Paonessa said. “Really, we just want people to feel comfortable and to have information or ideas in case something were to happen.”

In addition to this class, Detective Paonessa and Officer Kabellar are able to provide classes to those who call and request one. Various groups on campus, such as different women’s sports teams, have requested and participated in these classes.

“We have a lot of different groups that want to participate. Either they can find a room or we can find a room,” Detective Paonessa said. “Anybody is welcome to contact us and we’ll make arrangements if they have a group that wants to do it.”

The University of Akron also offers a one-credit course on self-defense where students can “acquire knowledge and skill in activities which may be of value and satisfaction throughout life,” according to the University’s website.

“People usually are very hesitant at first, but once they start getting into it and participate, they have a lot of fun,” Detective Paonessa said. “I have never heard anyone complain about it; they all enjoy the class and think it is worthwhile.”