“The goal of this club is to educate people on what to do if they get attacked,” said Sarah Augustine, founder of Seton Hill Martial Arts Club (SMAC). “But it’s also to broaden their horizon of what martial arts is.”
SMAC held its first meeting Oct. 22 with success, bringing in a range of people from almost none to many years of experience. The club focuses on both self-defense and different types of martial arts.
The club is open to everyone who wishes to learn regardless of experience level, like freshman art therapy major Jenna Schatz.
“I’ve been interested in martial arts for a while but never took a class myself,” Schatz said. “It’s a really interesting hobby.”
The four founding leaders and instructors of SMAC—Seton Hill University (SHU) students Elizabeth Anderson, Sarah Augustine, Catherine Bender and Victoria Giorgi—all pulled together their individual fighting styles to create courses appropriate for the club. Together, they have styles from both Japan and Korea, including Judo.
During the meeting all the instructors were smiling between correcting jabs and kicks, happy to help with no question too small.
“We are taking things that would be best for specifically beginners,” said Augustine on what to expect from SMAC. “We use techniques combining all of our [styles] together.”
Many students attended the self-defense aspect of SMAC in case of an attack, being mindful of their surroundings.
“I think kenpo is more useful with small fast techniques where your goal is to get away,” said Anderson, prepared with what people will want out of the club.
“I think this is a really safe campus,” Schatz said. “It’s good to know, but I hope I’ll never have to use it.”
“People think [martial arts] is all the same, but that’s completely false,” said Augustine. “I have studied for seven years bukai, which is based off of an Okinawan karate you can find [martial arts] anywhere.”
“I do kenpo, judo, and jiujitsu,” said Anderson, of her many personal styles.
The founders, who instruct the class, aren’t the only ones blending their experiences together.
“I’ve taken tengsudo since I was four,” said Jessica Joos, a freshman dance major. “I also do kick-boxing, and I’m ready to learn new things outside of my karate studio.”
With the benefits of self-defense and broadened horizons, SMAC’s activities also provide a work-out for the body and mind. The majority of martial arts inherently explore the world of meditation.
SMAC meets every Thursday at the aerobics room at the back of the McKenna Center work-out space starting at 7 p.m. All levels are welcome, and work-out clothes are suggested.