MMA Coach Greg Jackson, trainer of newly-crowned UFC Bantamweight World Champion Holly Holm, came to UNM recently to teach a self-defense class to 50 female students.

A few months ago, Jackson reached out to Caitlin Henke, program specialist at the Women’s Resource Center, about teaching a self-defense class at UNM to help female students feel safer. Jackson expressed his concern for women’s safety on campus and offered to help.

“He, and actually his wife too, have a really deep and clear passion for women’s safety and self defense,” Henke said.

According to the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), each year (there are) 293,000 victims of sexual assault and 44 percent of those victims are under 18.

“Walking to my car late at night you always think like what would you do if something were to happen or occur? Would pepper spray work? Not necessarily,” said Lillian Sanchez, a participant in the class.

Sanchez and Henke expressed Jackson’s commitment to one-on-one training, saying he not only taught self-defense moves, but also techniques to make sure that they are using the moves correctly.

“He walked over and realized that my technique was out of line and he explained that my fingers needed to be dispersed as opposed to a closed fist when doing a certain technique so that I won’t hurt my arm,” Sanchez said, “he was very accurate and very precise when it came to not hurting yourself.”

Jackson has won three world MMA awards including Best Coach in 2009, Best Gym in 2009, and Coach of the Year in 2010.The seminar took place at Jackson’s Martial Arts and Fitness Academy and lasted for two and a half hours.

Henke said that women’s safety and the prevention of assault was at the forefront of the conversations Jackson had with the Women’s Resource Center when planning the seminar.

“The techniques that he walked us through and the fact that we were able to learn something practical and applicable, it just seemed like he wasn’t only teaching but he was teaching with experience and he was being empathetic and it was a great experience,” Sanchez said.

The Women’s Resource Center deals with women’s issues including, counseling, parenting programs, sexual orientation, and on campus safety.

For more information, visit the Women’s Resource Center website or call (505) 277-3716.