Independence and confidence.  Those were the characteristics Brooke Lehman was seeking when she attended a women’s self defense workshop on March 18.

“I’m hoping I’ll be able to feel more safe when I’m by myself,” said the entrepreneurship and small business student before the seminar.  “I want to learn how to deal with dangerous situations safely.”

Sandra Lanois-Bazinet, who gave the seminar for the women, started martial arts as a way to cope with her parents’ divorce as a child.

Throughout her life, she said she has been grateful multiple times for the training she received.

“Martial arts changed my life,” said Lanois-Bazinet.  “It has helped me overcome some of the worst obstacles life could set before me.”

During her many years of training she said she realized that she didn’t see many women learning self-defense and martial arts.

She wanted to change that.

“I decided I wanted to empower my community one woman at a time,” said Lanois-Bazinet.  “I wanted every woman I met to have the same confidence and capabilities as I did to ensure no one was ever made to feel like a victim again.”

She said she not only wanted to equip the women with physical skills but also provide advice for them.

“I also provide a lot of theory and thoughts that promote situational awareness,” said Lanois-Bazinet.  “I want them to see the importance in investing in their protection.”

Aside from promoting awareness, she also includes real-life scenarios for the women to practice their skills that they learned throughout the seminar.

“We had a gentleman dressed in a padded body suit attack the girls,” said Lanois-Bazinet.  “This scenario truly put into perspective how tiring it can be to defend yourself.”

Rachael Hopkinson, another student who attended the workshop, was happy that it was hands-on.

“It’s a good way to learn it,” said Hopkinson, a police foundations student.  “It will make me feel a lot safer.”