Brookdale Community College’s Mixed Martial Arts Club (MMA) co-hosted a Women’s Self-Protection Seminar with the Women In Leadership and Learning (WILL) club on Friday, April 28th at the campus Fitness Center. Over 30 people participated in the Self-Protection class led by the the President of the MMA Club, Taylor Papera, and assisted by her father Rick, College Relations Graphic Artist/Design Coordinator and MMA Club Advisor Anthony La Gaipa and other MMA Club members. Attendees learned how to defend against an attacker and how to break free from physical restraints using techniques such as wrist grabs and pushes and pulls.

Techniques improved by everyone in attendance, and confidence in developing a self-protection plan began to rise as the students practiced the maneuvers on people wearing protective padding and gear. Taught to shout and yell as they defended themselves, practitioners developed strikes using the palms of their hands rather than their fists, which is a safer way to practice impact striking that is easy to remember because the movements coincide with a person’s natural reaction.

By the end of the two-hour session, everyone was sweaty and exhausted but also excited to have learned various ways to defend themselves and loved ones against physical surprise attacks. But, of course, the best lesson learned was; when being attacked, at the very least, “do something!”

The Mixed Martial Arts Club had been dormant during the pandemic years but was resurrected for the Spring 2023 academic term by Papera and her student team leaders Zacharias Trower, Mark Buerck, Matthew Brown, Hanna Zabe, and David Malinger.

Even though the MMA Club has only been active for the second half of this academic year, excitement for the club has been outstanding. At this year’s Gold Stars Awards held at the Ocean Place Resort in Long Branch, the Mixed Martial Arts Club won the Gold Star for going ‘Above and Beyond’ at Brookdale Community College. La Gaipa also won the Gold Star for Best Club Advisor for 2023.

At Mixed Martial Arts Club, you will meet new people, learn valuable skills, take your fitness to the next level and make new friends. MMA Club meets every Tuesday in the Fitness Center from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Yes, even in the Summer (Tuesday summertime meet-ups begin May 23rd).

Consider joining the Mixed Martial Arts Club. Everyone is welcome to join, even if you’re a beginner, someone interested in martial arts or fitness, or someone with a lifetime of experience in martial arts; MMA Club is here for you.