EmPOWER Hour at Texas A&M University isn’t just another kickboxing workshop: It’s kickboxing combined with a self-defense focus.
Anna Taggart Minahan, the fitness director at Texas A&M, created it with a specific goal in mind: educate. “I personally think knowing how to defend yourself is important, especially for those who’ve experienced any sort of interpersonal violence in their lives,” she explained. “In the 15-minute breakdown portion of the workshop, I tell participants where to think about striking in their punches and kicks too so it’s more helpful to visualize if they ever needed to defend themselves or others.”
EmPOWER Hour includes:
- A 15-minute breakdown of all four basic punches (jab, cross, hook, upper cut). And the three basic kickboxing kicks (front kick, back kick, side kick).
- There is a five-to-six-minute full body functional warm up — it includes all punches sand kicks used in the class.
- The class includes three kickboxing combinations. They are first broken down by the right and left side of the body, and then combined.
- A cool down and stretching rounds out the workshop, usually to an empowerment-based song.
“This style of workshop is very accessible and inclusive. So far, it has been very well received at Texas A&M,” said Taggart Minahan. “We also offer a regular cardio kickboxing class on our group fitness schedule at several different times throughout the semester. This includes the 45-minute kickboxing combination portion of the workshop but not the 15-minute breakdown portion. The full EmPOWER Hour for us works best as a workshop done a couple times a semester.”
In addition, they partner with the Health Promotion department to provide EmPOWER Hour around Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, and Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. Taggart Minahan said it’s a way for survivors to feel empowered. Plus, it educates and prepares college students should they ever need to defend themselves.
The workshop can easily be done in person, virtually or in a hybrid model. But, it requires keeping tabs on what’s going on in the world and who you’re trying to reach.
“I think thinking outside the box is important and what we had to do with this workshop when we couldn’t do as much in person programming or even close contact programming like traditional self-defense style workshops,” said Taggart Minahan. “For us at Texas A&M, in the past this style of self-defense workshop was often led by a male police officer in person. Not everyone is going to feel comfortable in that setting, so it’s good to think about ways to offer self-defense style training to reach more people and be as accessible and inclusive as possible.”
So, is it time to add an EmPOWER Hour workshop to your schedule?