UFC LEGEND FORREST GRIFFIN LEADS SELF-DEFENSE WORKSHOP
Student-athletes and staff participated on campus Monday morning
UNLV Athletics began the first full week of November with a special self-defense workshop Monday morning, led by UFC fighting legend Forrest Griffin. Student-athletes and staff gathered at the Paul McDermott Physical Education Complex to learn tactics and strategies from the UFC Hall of Famer for self defense from potential assaults.
The workshop was part of a larger initiative by the athletics department to offer resources and to educate student-athletes on important and relevant topics in their day-to-day lives and personal development.
“We are continually exploring creative partnerships that help our student-athletes,” said UNLV Director of Athletics Desiree Reed-Francois. “It was our privilege to work with the UFC, UFC Champion Forrest Griffin and our UNLV Police Department to put on this self-defense workshop for our student-athletes, equipping them with resources to keep them safe. We appreciate our Rebel Academy team, including Sarah Wattenberg and Mallory Poole for leading this initiative. It was an engaging and innovative way to learn important preventative measures.”
The hour-long session began with Griffin and UNLV Police Detective Paul Velez explaining the importance of being aware of ones surroundings at all times and being prepared for dangerous situations if they arise, while Velez provided information about campus resources available to all students in case or an emergency or assault. Griffin discussed multiple scenarios that could arise and demonstrated movements and tactics on how to react initially to escape from the danger, then asked participants to practice the moves on each other.
Griffin has been leading these workshops for over 16 years and credits his background as a police officer, UFC fighter and his training in jiu jitsu for helping him teach others how to protect themselves.
“I was a police officer, but I wasn’t certified to teach defensive tactics,” he said. “I was the only one actively doing jiu jitsu and fighting and competing, so they said let’s get this kid over here who knows what he is doing, so I’ve been doing this for a while now.”
The former UFC Champion gave several informative tips about what to do if someone finds oneself in an assault situation, but his main message was about how to prevent these kind of events from happening in the first place.
“Since it’s only an hour class, what we’re really trying to teach them about is mentality,” Griffin said. “Situational awareness is key. It’s easier to prevent these things before they happen, but if they do, it’s not time to be a victim, you are in a fight, this is happening and you’ve got to defend yourself.”