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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Self defense club teaches practical skills

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“Self defense training is strange in that it’s something that you will spend a large amount of time doing, but you hope you are never forced into a situation in which you must use it,” said Bradley Zemanek, a junior construction science major and founder of the Texas A&M Self Defense Club.
The Texas A&M Self Defense Club helps train those at Texas A&M in Krav Maga and the Keysi Fighting Method in order to defend themselves. Zemanek began the process of making the Texas A&M Self Defense Club a recognized organization in the summer of 2010. They were able to start training this spring semester.
Zemanek found inspiration to start the club after taking a self-defense kinesiology class. Teri Wenzel, Zemanek’s kinesiology instructor and faculty adviser of the club, told Zemanek The University of Sidekicks Gym was looking for a student leader to start a Krav Maga club at A&M, and Zemanek jumped at the opportunity.
Renee Nolte, owner of Sidekicks Gym, was very instrumental in the founding of the Texas A&M Self Defense Club as well. Nolte personally provides all of the club’s instruction, and her gym provides the organization with event and fundraising opportunities. Since the Texas A&M Self Defense Club is a new organization, she also acts in an advisory capacity to the student leadership.
The primary mission of the Texas A&M Self Defense Club is to provide first-rate training in Krav Maga and the Keysi Fighting Method. To achieve this mission, members learn to defend themselves or other victims against a real-life threat and have the opportunity to obtain the first belt for each style.
“The training starts from the beginning, so that we can train the inexperienced students who have never learned to defend themselves, and so that students can obtain the first belt.
However, training picks up very fast in both of these styles, and I can guarantee that a student of any prior experience level will learn something new from Master Nolte,” Zemanek said.
Krav Maga, one of the styles taught by the Texas A&M Self Defense Club, is a brutal style of martial arts that was developed and refined by the Israeli military. The other style taught is the Keysi Fighting Method, a form of street fighting developed in Spain. While the styles taught are not the most well-known fighting methods, they are practical for self-defense.
“The training itself is the best benefit,” Zemanek said. “Krav Maga and the Keysi Fighting Method are both geared towards pure self defense. There is no sparring or one-on-one competitions, only learning to defend yourself or others against a real threat. With this training, the benefits include but are certainly not limited to intense exercise, personal protection, the ability to help others in need and steep increases in your personal sense of physical security, pride and confidence.”
Membership for the Texas A&M Self Defense Club costs $100 for the Keysi Fighting Method training and $95 for the Krav Maga training. Members consider this to be a good deal for martial arts training, especially considering the amount of personal attention they receive.
“The dues are used to purchase T-shirts and to pay our instructor, Master Nolte. We have tried to make it as cost effective as possible. It’s $100 for 14 classes, Monday and Wednesday for seven weeks, and that is really a good deal when you start to look around for martial arts schools,” said Amelia Mitchell, a junior English major.
Any student, faculty member or A&M employee is allowed to join. Membership in the Texas A&M Self Defense Club includes high-quality martial arts training twice a week and opportunities to serve the Aggie community. For example, the Texas A&M Self Defense Club participated in The Big Event this year.
The Texas A&M Self Defense Club also offers members a social sphere for other fans of martial arts.
“[The organization] is really great stress relief, having a good place to show up and work out while acquiring real-life useful skills. It’s also full of great, enthusiastic people,” said Rose Graham, a senior anthropology major.
Graham also said that the main benefits of the Texas A&M Self-Defense Club are improved fitness, greater peace of mind and making friends.

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