BY SERGE GUEDIKIAN
As a senior at Rose and Alex Pilibos Armenian School, my classmates and I received a rather unique opportunity this year. In addition to our core classes, an additional class was added to our curriculum, “Leadership and Development: Choices and Challenges.” In this class, we were exposed to a variety of real world opportunities we would not have had the benefit of learning about otherwise. For example, my entire senior class had the opportunity to participate in a self-defense workshop hosted by Hye Katch Do.
At first, we did not know what to expect from the two-part workshop. The first session consisted of an oral presentation where we were educated on what it means to be safe, aware, and prepared. We were instructed on certain things to always have in mind when out in public and also on some physical self-defense techniques that we could use if needed. The second session was much more exciting. When we walked into the room, we were all thrilled to see the floor covered in soft blue mats; this meant the workshop was going to be a hands-on experience and not just a lecture. Before we were given any instructions, everybody already had their shoes off and was sitting on the mat waiting to begin. The instructor, Shihan Mihran Aghvinian, began by telling us the most important rule when trying to protect oneself: remain calm and do not panic in a dangerous situation. After he made sure we understood that concept, the self-defense instructions began. We were shown several techniques that involved targeting your assailant’s weak points, such as eyes, ears, nose, shins, etc., and practiced them on our partners in a safe and controlled environment.
As students, we had many questions, and we proposed various distress scenarios to our instructor. Master Aghvinian gave us instruction on how to handle many dangerous situations with possible ways to escape and specifics on handling the threat. After practicing the various techniques over and over again, my classmates and I felt more prepared to deal with and handle a possibly dangerous situation.
To participate in a workshop such as this was not only a unique experience, but one that could one day make the difference in saving our lives. As seniors, we will be graduating soon and will forever leave our safe and secure Pilibos environment. Thanks to our amazing administration and teachers, we were fortunate to participate in this and other workshops to better prepare us for our everyday lives in the future.