STORM, which stands for Self-defense, Tranquility, Opportunity for expression, Respect, and Martial arts, is a new club on campus designed to train students in both physical and verbal methods of protection.
The club’s president, Rosemarie Sarinas-Wong, and vice-president, Lauren Kong, lead stretches before breaking into groups to review punching and kicking techniques at their second meeting of the semester. The groups also practice defending themselves against verbal attacks by doing role-play and putting themselves in situations that would require a verbal response.
The idea for STORM came to Sarinas-Wong, the club’s founder, over the summer, prompting her to offer Kong the position of vice-president. The two are now co-teachers.
“There hasn’t been a club like this before,” Sarinas-Wong said. “I wanted an area for martial arts people to meet, as well as an area for people to be able to learn self-defense and martial arts.”
A fact that cannot be ignored is Mills’ location in Oakland, a city with a reputation for having one of the highest crime rates in the country. The college offers a ‘Personal Defense for Women’ class, but it isn’t a requirement.
“The women always say, though, in their end-of-the-year evaluations, that this class should be required, as it teaches some very important life skills,” said Christine Schoefer, STORM’s club advisor and a karate teacher at Mills.
“STORM is for people who want to take a class in self-defense and martial arts, but don’t have the time,” said Sarinas-Wong. “We offer a review of what would be covered in class.”
“STORM aims to provide people with the tools they need to evaluate situations and correctly determine what actions need to be taken,” Kong added.
In explaining how the club got started, Schoefer said, “Rose and some other students really enjoy the Karate class and wanted a way to train and practice on their own, outside of class.”
Members of STORM are as excited by this new club as its teachers are.
“I love STORM,” said Imani Russell, a sophomore. “I was actually looking around this area forplaces to learn martial arts, but they were all really expensive. So I’m glad there’s a club at Mills now, especially one that focuses more on the physical aspect of self-defense.”
The hype of STORM is increasing for many reasons.
“It’s really important for young women especially to learn how to defend themselves, considering we still live under patriarchy and there is still a threat of sexual assault,” said Taylor VanDoorne, another sophomore at Mills.
STORM isn’t just about defending one’s self and protecting one’s body, though.
According to Schoefer, the club’s goals are “to practice with women who already have some martial arts skills, to spread their enthusiasm for martial arts training to other women who may not have thought of taking the Karate class, and to have fun.”
Self-defense is a serious matter, especially for an all-women campus, and should never be taken lightly.
STORM attempts to educate Mills women by preparing them for such events.
“It’s important for people to learn how to use their bodies to defend themselves,” said Kong. “knowledge is power.”
Club meetings start at 7pm on Tuesday nights in the Haas Pavilion, Room 116.