by Rima Thompson
Self-love, according to Merriam-Webster OnLine dictionary, is the process of loving oneself in regards to one’s own happiness and advantage. But is that all there is to it?
Ahmes Maat, instructor of a class called Afrikan Defense, believes that self-love also encompasses being able to love yourself enough to defend yourself at all costs.
Maat shared that when one masters loving him or herself unconditionally, only then can they become their ultimate protector. They are also then able to discover the strength of their inner spirit.
To share this concept, Maat will instruct a course on Afrikan Defense for the next 10 weeks from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Sundays at the University of La Verne in the Supertents. All students are invited to attend at an individual cost of $8 per class.
His course will offer students the opportunity to develop self-defense techniques through the use of hand, elbow and knee movements, as well as projected imagery and self-hypnosis.
Students will learn the essence of using their mind as a defense. They will learn to defy defeat by becoming “one with themselves” through self-healing and protection.
“I believe that this class will teach a different method of self defense, and I think it is a good secondary method,” said sophomore Mary Kazanchyan. “An individual should always have a self defense methods because you don’t always know what situations you might be faced with.”
Maat has practiced martial arts for 30 years. His educational background includes a Ph.D. in philosophy, masters in respiratory therapy and post bachelors degree in precision technologies, which he has been involved with for 10 years.
Through Afrikan Defense, Maat is able to introduce the world to African/Ancient Egyptian principles, practices and virtues.
Classes are offered to the general public, but there is an emphasis on a specific defense course for women. Maat confides that this specific defense course was the originating idea for his program.
His concern for his mother, wife, sister and daughter led him to conclude that women are at higher risk for being attacked and therefore need defense mechanisms more so than men. In offering this program, he is teaching women how to protect themselves.
“I look at all women as my family and I want them to be safe, ” Maat said.
Besides teaching defense mechanisms to college students, Maat has also worked with the political organization known as the Black Panthers.
He says intent is the biggest difference when instructing college students and groups such as the Black Panthers.
“When I teach college students it’s more for personal defense,” Maat said. “With the Black Panthers it is military and bodyguard type defenses.”
Maat also stated that college students are most vulnerable, especially females, because they are surrounded by an unfamiliar environment.
“College students are at risk because they have a new liberty they never had before,” Maat said. “It’s great for them to be in the defense mode at all times.”
Sophomore Sara Lesniak agreed with Maat and said, “knowing any means of self defense gives one the security to venture on their own as well as providing a foundation for building one’s confidence, integrity, self discipline and other virtues. Health wise, it is also a great way to keep in shape.”