Feminism Club holds self-defense seminar

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Michael Kanna demonstrates a self-defense technique on junior Solomon Biers-Ariel.

By Kellen Browning,
Bluedevilhub.com Editor–

The Davis High Feminism Club hosted a self-defense seminar in the Dance Room on Wednesday, May 20. All students were invited to come learn self-defense techniques from history and psychology teacher Michael Kanna, who has been teaching martial arts for three decades.

The attendees practice palm strikes as Kanna looks on.
The attendees practice palm strikes as Kanna looks on.

Feminism Club president Claudia Shebloski explained how the idea for the seminar was formed.

“The entire Feminism Club came up with it, because they’re so many statistics of females who are being sexually assaulted and also attacked,” Shebloski said. “Self-defense isn’t just about preventing that but it’s also empowering yourself, ’cause when you can defend yourself, you are able to protect yourself and be more independent. So it really relates into feminism.”

The seminar wasn’t just for girls, however; Kanna stressed the importance of everyone knowing basic self-defense techniques, and advertised the event to his AP US History class.

“Basically, what you want to do to defend yourself–and this is not for social violence, because if you hurt somebody badly because they insult you, for instance […] then you should go to jail,” Kanna said.

“But if somebody’s attacking you–attempted rape, something like that–then you what you must presume, as a matter of being logical and prepared for the worst case scenario is that the person is bigger, faster and stronger than you.”

“From there what you want to do is basically hurt them really bad and then get out of there,” he added. “And so normally your three most vulnerable targets are your groin, your throat and your eyes. There’s a couple other things you can do but those are the basics. What you want to do is […] attack those targets and do a good job with it.”

Kanna taught several different basic techniques to attack these areas at the seminar, which took place after school and was attended by about 30 people.

Junior Chris Marelich, who is in Kanna’s APUSH class, saw the posters for the event around school and decided to show up.

Junior Dylan Lee tries out an eye gouge on junior Alex Dhond.
Junior Dylan Lee tries out an eye gouge on junior Alex Dhond.

“Why not? You learn some new things…big fan of Mr. Kanna,” he said, describing the seminar as “well-run” and “fun.”

“I thought it was a very good seminar,” said junior Solomon Biers-Ariel, who is also in Kanna’s APUSH class. “I thought that the techinques we learned were very effective.”

Biers-Ariel says that after attending the event, he thinks that he would be able to defend himself from an attacker if necessary.

Before the seminar, Kanna was “a little worried about people getting goofy […] you can’t be goofy when I’m teaching you how to gouge eyes, that’s just not gonna work.”

But he was pleasantly surprised with how things turned out.

“There wasn’t that many people [getting goofy]. Some of the guys were more posturing a little bit […] other people had just seen too many Bruce Lee movies and they were doing that kind of stuff. But they weren’t unsafe. They were a little goofy, but they weren’t unsafe,” he said.

Kanna says that the seminar was too short to “really be able to produce the kind of results you want,” but it was a good “exposure to self-defense techniques and just the ideas of what you need to do in a self-defense situation.”

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