Branson School News, Sports, Life and Opinion

The Blazer

Branson’s student-run newspaper
Branson School News, Sports, Life and Opinion

The Blazer

Branson School News, Sports, Life and Opinion

The Blazer

Self defense club equips students with protection skills

A survey conducted by the National Safety Council found that 60% of respondents believed that self-defense training is important for personal safety. Ryka Kashi ‘26 is leading an initiative to provide students with the skills to protect themselves and build confidence. 

With the help of Branson music teacher Jaimeo Brown, who is a black belt, and DEI Director JuanCarlos Arauz, who has a brown belt, Kashi has launched Branson’s first self-defense club to empower students and teachers to learn all kinds of self defense tactics. 

“Over the course of my life, [taekwondo] has helped me build confidence and self-esteem,” said Kashi. “I feel like it’s really important for other people to feel that way as well.”

Brown is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, denoting an expert at the fundamentals. Brown had taught Kashi in his African Drumming immersive and discovered their shared interest in self-defense. 

“I hate when people abuse their power, so I love being able to equip people with techniques, knowledge, and tools that can help balance the abuse of power,” Brown said about his excitement to help Kashi with the club. “It can be an equalizer because if your technique is really good, size doesn’t have to be so much of an issue.” 

The self-defense club meets during Thursday club blocks in the small gym to exchange tips and techniques for self-defense, as well as practice them. 

“It’s better safe than sorry,” Kashi said. “There are a lot of situations that can be dangerous, and just having these [techniques] in your back pocket can really help.”

The self-defense club works in line with Branson’s mission to prepare students for the future. Kashi and Brown know how impactful self-defense training can be and hope to strengthen not only the bodies, but also the minds of students and teachers alike at Branson. 

“It’s not important that we panic,” said Kashi. “It’s important how we respond to panic.”

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Talbot Bales, Writer