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One in four women is subjected to some form of sexual harassment throughout her lifetime, and 65 percent of women say they have encountered some form of street harassment. As more women and young girls are becoming aware of this issue, many are actively trying to find solutions to lower the chances of women being harmed.
With this in mind, Drew Ferrer, a senior at RB High, decided to use her knowledge and experience in martial arts and karate to begin a club at school where female students can talk about and learn about how to protect themselves, and one another, in dangerous situations.
Ferrer started Kajukenbo, which has included Karate, Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, Kenpo, Kung Fu, and Chinese Boxing, at age six at her local Boys & Girls Club. From there, she competed in martial arts tournaments winning first place in forms and weapons, earned her Junior Black Belt at age 16 and First-Degree Black Belt in 2015, and later earned her qualifications to teach other students.
Because this club may have had some conflicts of interest, Ferrer made it clear it would be a non-contact and explanation club only. To follow the school guidelines, Ferrer plans to explain different types of techniques to help women stay safe while they are alone and demonstrate them herself without letting others in the club participate on school grounds.
While the girls cannot practice on each other on campus, Ferrer can still demonstrate and explain different maneuvers and tactics to use when you are approached by someone unknown. This involves explaining the importance of balance, learning your assailant’s weak spots, learning to avoid being grabbed or punched, and gaining the power and intensity within your strikes.
Eventually, Ferrer hopes the club will be about more than just self-defense and wants to use it to show girls to be comfortable in their own skin. Femininity and physical power are often seen in society and by young girls as being in contention, but Ferrer hopes to show that it is possible to be confident in your ability to fight back.
“I want to teach a sort of body-confidence, in which you can be comfortable with yourself doing all kinds of weird kicks and punches because it’s useful in life, and it’s actually fun!” Ferrer said.
JANHAVI CHAFEKAR is a senior at Rancho Bernardo High School. She is participating in an internship program with 92128 Magazine.