Theater professor teaches self-defense

Sara Ali, Staff Writer

An associate professor and costume designer for the theater department at SUNY Buffalo State hopes to teach students self-defense classes in the upcoming semester.

Ann Emo held a self-defense seminar last month. She believes those seminars benefit the students. Knowing that Casting Hall, a theater-based USG organization, holds events on Thursdays as a way to get students together, Emo suggested teaching a self-defense seminar. She said that there is a need for students to be aware.

“Being aware of things is important no matter what you do,” she said. “I teach theatrical design; being able to notice your surroundings is a transferable skill that you can use in design.”

Although Emo teaches design classes, the physical activities displayed during the class can also be applied in movement and acting classes.

Because the event was originally offered to Casting Hall, the majority of students at the event were theater majors. However, other students were also welcomed to the event as fliers were posted around campus.

Some may find it odd or interesting that a theater professor and costume designer would take the initiative to offer a self-defense seminar to students, but in Emo’s case, she has a background in martial arts.

“I am a third-degree black belt and I am very dedicated to my training,” Emo said.

Emo said that she has been training for over 13 years at Master Chong’s World Class Tae Kwon Do, and that she is a good instructor for this course because of her knowledge of the subject.

“I have studied the way we can use our bodies. I study people, I have trained hard and I love what I do,” Emo said, adding, “I work closely with students, so I am aware of their habits, interests and many of their needs.”

Deonna Dolac, senior theater major, is part of the E-board for Casting Hall. Dolac was one of a handful of students to attend the event. She said she enjoyed the new techniques she learned.

“I loved the class,” she said. “I thought it was great, very useful and very helpful.”

Senior theater and television and film arts double major Ronald Hicks, who also has a background in martial arts, attended the event to see what Emo had to offer.

“I wanted to teach a self-defense class last year, but it is difficult in a college environment,” he said.

Hicks also said that he thought Emo’s class was excellent and a great starter class.

Much of what was taught in the seminar can be intertwined with theater skills. Emo made a point to incorporate what she teaches her students during class in what was taught at the seminar.

“In theater, we are trained to be aware of our surroundings at all times, which is what karate is about as well,” said Trevor Hall, senior theater major.

Hall also explained that many people would not think that theater and karate go hand-in-hand, but he thinks otherwise. He said that the two are very relateable to one another because of the need to know what is going on at all times.

“I enjoyed the class and learned a lot,” Hall said. “I hope she does more of them in the future.”