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What exactly is influencer marketing? How does it differ from other forms of advertising? And why should marketers care?

Influencer marketing has become a powerful tool for businesses looking to reach new audiences.

Marketers use various strategies to identify influential individuals and gain access to their followers.

In this article, we’ll discuss what influencer marketing is and the variable for incorporating influencer marketing into a brand’s strategy.

What Is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing uses celebrities, athletes, bloggers, and other influential figures to market brands.

Influencers are those who have large social media followings and have the ability to influence their audience.

Brands use influencers to promote their product or service through paid advertisements, free giveaways, and endorsements. In addition, they can generate significant brand awareness and loyalty through paid or unpaid posts.

The goal is to get them to share valuable information and create excitement around a particular topic, product, or service. The key benefit for brands is that they reach a larger audience at a lower cost than traditional advertising methods.

The Right Influencer

However, this opportunity comes with some responsibility on the part of the brand.

Brands must be careful when choosing an influencer because it’s easy for them to fall in love with the idea of working with someone influential.

Unfortunately, without thorough background research, this can lead to a situation where a potentially ideal influencer promotes products that aren’t aligned with a brand’s values. Therefore, it’s important to ensure the influencer you want to work with aligns with your brand’s goals and values.

Influencer marketing also requires brands to pay influencers fairly. If you don’t pay your influencers what they deserve, they won’t promote your brand in the vision you want them to. Additionally, you can risk a potentially fruitful relationship.

Creating A Plan

When collaborating with an influencer, it’s essential to not just think of the total cost but the project’s goals and establish what you would like accomplished in the front end.

This can include a discovery call to plan out potential posts or how-to videos. Will you provide the content and supporting information, or will they? Of course, all this will affect the cost and time involved in creating the posts.

Influencer marketing has become one of the most effective ways to get people talking about your business online. It’s essential to know how to find the right influencers for your niche to ensure your message gets across.

Why We All Need Influencer Marketing & How We Can Use It

A study showed that in 2022 influencer marketing is set to reach $16.4 billion and 75% of brand marketers plan to include influencer marketing in this year’s strategy. This type of marketing is growing fast and doing well.

And this isn’t just for B2C brands, since 86% of B2B brands find influencer marketing a valuable strategy. That’s a considerable return on investment if you have the right approach.

If you’re only using traditional digital marketing (SEO, PPC, social media, etc.), you’re clearly missing out on a huge opportunity to increase your ROI.

It doesn’t matter if you’re an agency, brand, or business – everyone can benefit from trying influencer marketing.

Don’t believe me? You should. Influencer marketing is not “out of your league.” Here’s why.

Influencer Marketing For Agencies

How many clients does your agency have? That’s how many new influencing opportunities your agency has at its fingertips.

Agencies can use their clients, the ones they like and like them, to help promote their agency for them.

Think of it like receiving a referral or customer review.

If someone enjoys working with you and the business next door asks how they got so successful so quickly, they’re going to tell the next-door business all about your agency and how you helped them.

Case Studies & New Content

Capitalize on this process and ask your clients for video testimonials to become a part of your referral program (create one) and if you can use their results for case studies.

If you’ve been able to impact a client positively, they’re highly likely to approve you sharing the story of how you took them from one to 10.

Gather a dozen different case studies from your past and current clients to publish on your website, social pages, email newsletters, and ads. This isn’t only additional content but content your existing and new clients will appreciate.

You can also make the case study an appealing PDF and share it with the case study client for them to share among their peers.

If you help them reach their goals, they’ll love the PDF filled with graphics, charts, and impressive numbers to share with other business owners.

Trial By Error

Another way to utilize your clients for influencer marketing is to ask your clients to test out a new product.

If they’re a big client of yours, it’s appropriate to let them know that your agency is trying to innovate with all of the tech advances, and you want to try a new strategy or product with them as a test.

FREE Of Charge

If things work out with the test, woohoo! You’ve added another section to the contract. And you have a new service or product to charge for in the future.

If things don’t work out, you get insightful and honest feedback from the client and know how to fix the product or plan.

Brands

One of the most significant ways I see brands utilize influencer marketing is by partnering up with other brands.

Before I get too deep into this, I want to clarify that there are prominent corporate players like Sprint and Blue Apron. And they’re also individual brands like famous Instagram users and YouTube celebrities.

A brand can be an individual brand, like you trying to grow your role as a digital marketer in the industry. However, it can also represent a larger entity for cosmetics and skincare like Maybelline.

Now, back to the brands and the whole influencer marketing idea. Brands will partner together in campaigns to help widen their audience with influencer marketing.

They can use relevant brands in the same industry or reach out of the spectrum and partner with entirely different brands to increase their exposure to a new audience.

When you work with an influencer in a different industry, you get a level of influencer where you can capitalize on the new audience. Be strategic in who you reach out to and ask to partner up in a new influencing campaign.

Partnering with the wrong brand will profoundly impact your brand’s reputation and possibly ruin it.

Red Bull partnering with Coca-Cola for a new content campaign also wouldn’t be the best of ideas. On the one hand, Red Bull is heavily involved in extreme sports. But, they’ve chosen that angle due to their actual product, an energy drink named Red Bull that essentially “gives you wings,” to be extreme.

Sure, the Red Bull athletes could do an incredible stunt riding a mountain bike down the ledge of the mountain holding both a Coca-Cola and a Red Bull can, but what would be the point?

It wouldn’t make sense because, technically, the two can be seen as competitors. They both are on-the-go drink manufacturers.

Instead, Red Bull could partner with Nike and do a content campaign featuring Nike’s new apparel line, Red Bull’s energy drink, and summer sports.

Just because your brand is in the same industry as another doesn’t mean a collab will work. It’s important to research how your consumers will react to the ad.

Businesses

We can most commonly recognize influencer marketing when businesses do it.

If your business makes pipes for the plumbing industry, head to that list of the most famous plumbers and start reaching out.

Doing outreach is a huge part of influencer marketing. It almost feels like putting on a public relations or journalist hat for a second as you try and narrow down your influencers.

Once you’ve found an influencer who has agreed to help promote your product, don’t just stop there. The more influencers you have, the more brand exposure you get, as well as trust.

The word will get around if one of the most famous plumbers uses your pipes for repairs. Other plumbers will trust the renowned plumber and follow in their footsteps to purchase and use only your pipes.

When To Pay An Influencer

Sometimes, you don’t need to pay an influencer. Instead, samples of the product you’re asking them to promote, discounts, or free services usually suffice.

It changes and becomes a more costly strategy when you pick who the influencer is and depends on the type of content you want.

The bigger the influencer, the more they’ll want.

If you’re aiming for that Kardashian type of exposure, you will need to break out the wallet. And the credit card. And possibly your mortgage.

Influencers Who Cost, A Lot

If you’re a brand, business, or agency with goals like a Kardashian type of exposure and the budget to match. Then, by all means, reach out to your lawyers and start preparing contracts for when you lock in those influencers.

Make sure your contracts clearly state the expectations of the influencer. For example, if you want them to run the content by you before they publish it, specify that in the contract.

If you want the influencer to only be able to promote your plumbing pipes and not work with any other pipe companies, state it in the contract.

Influencers Of Little To No Cost

For the rest of us, focus on the more affordable influencers. These people may already invest much of their time promoting your brand because they love your product or what you do.

Death Wish Coffee is an excellent example of this.

People love their product, the ridiculously strong coffee that comes with a side of sarcasm. The brand speaks its customer’s language, making it fun for customers to engage and promote the product themselves.

This coffee company can monitor its hashtag mentions and unlock hundreds of potential influencers that would love to receive a free month of coffee for posting more about their brand.

Look at what kind of mentions your brand, business, or agency is attracting online and follow the conversation. You’ll quickly discover who’s talking about you the most.

Finding An Influencer

Then, look at their followers if they have a healthy following reach out and see if they’d be interested in partnering up with you on an influencer campaign.

Don’t stop reading. I know those of you who are rolling your eyes yelling, “NO ONE MENTIONS MY BRAND!”

Don’t worry. I’ve got a solution for you, too. Look at your big competitors. Think of the Red Bulls and Coca-Colas of your industry.

See what kind of mentions they’re getting and from who. Then, reach out to those influencers and pitch away.

You never know who will say yes unless you ask.

Plus, they may not want as much as you think or even be willing to promote for free after getting to know more about you and your business.

Nowadays, there are numerous influencer marketing tools out there that can help connect you with the right people and brands. So, if you’re having trouble finding people you want to work with, it can be beneficial to give one of the tools a try.

Final Thoughts

Influencer marketing has become much more than just a buzzword.

Marketers have been using influencers to promote their products for years, but brands are now using influencers to build customer relationships and create new revenue streams.

By leveraging the power of social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, marketers can connect directly with consumers through influencers.

This can help to increase brand awareness and drive sales. It can also open your brand, business, or agency to new audiences.

As we get closer to the end of this year, try strategizing the influencer marketing opportunities you have out there.

More Resources:


Featured Image: Anton Vierietin/Shutterstock

Wed, 12 Oct 2022 23:52:00 -0500 en text/html https://www.searchenginejournal.com/fundamentals-influencer-marketing/461378/
Killexams : 5 Faith Fundamentals

User’s Guide to Sunday, Oct. 2

Sunday, Oct. 2, is the 27th Sunday of Ordinary Time. Mass readings: Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4; Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9; 2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14; Luke 17:5-10.

The readings for today’s Mass richly describe some essential qualities of faith. There are five fundamentals that can be seen:

Wanting: “The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith’” (Luke 17:5-6). When we really want something (provided it is not an impossibility), we usually get it. That’s because we work at it and have a passion for it. Hence, the apostles ask for a deeper desire to know the Lord. 

Waiting: Today’s first practicing speaks of our need to wait for the Lord’s action: “How long, O Lord? I cry for help but you do not listen! I cry out to you, ‘Violence!’ but you do not intervene. … Then the Lord answered … the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late” (Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4). 

Waiting is one of the great mysteries of the Christian life. Nevertheless, Scripture consistently tells us that we must learn to wait for the Lord and that there are blessings for those of us who do. 

Withstanding: Today’s second practicing counsels us, “God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control ... [and] bear your share of hardship for the Gospel with the strength that comes from God” (2 Timothy 1:6-8). 

This passage tells us that life has difficulties and challenges. Becoming a Christian does not necessarily make things easier. 

In fact, things often get harder because we must endure the hatred and ridicule of the world. 

Thus a fundamental of the Christian faith is that we be able to withstand such trials with courage.

Working: Today’s Gospel teaches, “When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do’” (Luke 17:6-10). The flesh expects, even demands, rewards. But God can never be indebted to us — never. 

If we have good works, they are not our gift to God; they are his gift to us.

Winning: We conclude with a reference back to the first reading: “For the vision still has its time, it presses on to fulfillment and it will not disappoint. 

If it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late” (Habakkuk 2:3). See what the end shall be! It is true that we must want, wait, withstand, and work, but we do not do so for no reason. 

We have a cross to carry, but if we carry it with the Lord, we carry it to glory; for all those who walk with Jesus on the way of the cross, there is victory ahead. 

Even here in this life we already enjoy the fruits of crosses past. 

Our withstanding in the past has given us strength for today. Our waiting in the past has had its fulfillment and provides the hope that our current waiting will also have its fruit. 

Our past work, by God’s grace, has already granted benefits to us and to others.

If we want, wait, withstand, and work, we will win! I promise it to you in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thu, 29 Sep 2022 22:14:00 -0500 en text/html https://www.ncregister.com/features/5-faith-fundamentals
Killexams : Breast cancer awareness fundamentals

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Thu, 13 Oct 2022 19:16:00 -0500 en text/html https://www.baxterbulletin.com/stories/breast-cancer-awareness-fundamentals,30321
Killexams : The First 4 Fundamentals About Consciousness and the Brain

Every fall, new students join the lab, eager to learn about consciousness and the brain. At this time of the year, I always ask myself, "What are the fundamental ideas about consciousness and the brain that should be taught first?" I always find myself revising, updating, streamlining, and making clearer the ideas in introductory lectures and the lab manual (Morsella, 2022). Below are the four fundamentals that, over the years, have always been presented first, both in the manual and in lab discussions.

The first thing to learn is what a “conscious content” is. Any particular thing one is conscious of has been referred to as a “conscious content.” A conscious content could be the sight of a coffee cup, an afterimage, a song that keeps playing in one’s mind, a percept, an urge (e.g., to scratch a sunburn), the smell of an ice cream sundae, or an autobiographical memory (e.g., memory of last summer’s camping trip).

The term “conscious content” refers to the most basic form of consciousness: If a creature is capable of having an experience of any kind—pain, nausea, a pleasant dream, or the sound of a bell—then it possesses this basic form of consciousness (Morsella, 2022). In short, to have an experience of any kind is to have some kind of conscious content. Sometimes people refer to this kind of basic consciousness as “awareness,” which means the same thing: Being aware of a cup or ringing in the ears is to experience these conscious contents.

The second thing to learn is the term “conscious field.” The conscious field is made up of all the conscious contents that are activated at one moment in time: the sight of an ice cream sundae plus the smell of coffee plus the feeling of the chair on which one is sitting plus the song that one cannot get out of one’s mind plus the memory of the doctor reminding one to cut down on sweets.

We are not aware of, and have no conscious contents for, many things going on in the brain or body—peristalsis in the gut, how the pupils in the eye are controlled, and many other activities in the nervous system (e.g., motor and syntactic programming). These processes are said to be unconscious. There is usually no experience about them. We know of these processes mainly through practicing about them in textbooks. We have no direct experience about them. In short, “unconscious events are those processes that, though capable of systematically influencing behavior, cognition, motivation, and emotion, do not influence the organism’s subjective experience in such a way that the organism can directly detect, understand, or self-report the occurrence or nature of these events” (from Morsella & Bargh, 2011).

Knowledge of unconscious process leads to the third important fundamental about consciousness and the brain: Not all brain processes and regions are associated with consciousness. Consciousness is associated with only a subset of the regions and processes. Researchers are attempting to home in on these circuits associated with consciousness (e.g., Morsella et al., 2016; Morsella, 2022).

The fourth fundamental is an observation that holds some clues about why one needs a fully operational conscious field, one in which many conscious contents are presented: Each conscious content activates brain processes, including, to some extent, behavioral inclinations. Consider the classic Stroop task (Stroop, 1935). In the task, subjects are instructed to name the color in which a word is written. When the word and color are incongruent (e.g., RED presented in blue), “response conflict” leads to increased error rates and response times. The response conflict arises because, though one intends to name only the color in which the word is printed, the stimulus (RED) activates involuntarily the “word reading” action plan (to utter “red”).

Because conscious contents can activate processes that influence behavior, it is essential that one conscious content (e.g., a tasty ice cream sundae) not be presented alone to have too much influence on behavior. Such a monopoly would not lead to adaptive behavior. Each content should be “checked” by other conscious contents (e.g., the memory that the doctor recommended cutting down on sweets). (This is called a “frame check”; Morsella et al., 2016.) Because voluntary behavior is influenced by the many conscious contents in the field, we respond to a given stimulus (the tasty sundae) not in isolation but in light of the other contents (e.g., memory of doctor) composing the conscious field.

With these four fundamentals, incoming students not only understand new terms but also begin to appreciate the important role of the conscious field in yielding adaptive actions that are context-sensitive. Over the years, these four fundamentals have consistently appeared at the beginning of the lab manual (Morsella, 2022), and I can’t foresee an introduction to the lab without them.

Tue, 11 Oct 2022 12:14:00 -0500 en-US text/html https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/consciousness-and-the-brain/202210/the-first-4-fundamentals-about-consciousness-and-the-brain
Killexams : Focusing on the Fundamentals Killexams : Matthew Bergeron and the Syracuse Offensive Line Focusing on Fundamentals - Sports Illustrated Syracuse Orange News, Analysis and More Skip to main content Sat, 01 Oct 2022 06:20:00 -0500 Alaina Losito en text/html https://www.si.com/college/syracuse/football/focusing-on-fundamentals-bergeron-interview-2022 Killexams : Laser Photonics Says Its 'Fundamentals Are Solid'

By Josh Beckerman

Laser Photonics Corp., discussing the performance of shares that have mostly traded below their initial public offering price, said the company's "fundamentals are solid, with strong revenue growth and profits."

The maker of laser systems for tasks including cleaning and paint removal provided an updated capitalization table. It said the management team didn't sell any shares in the IPO or in subsequent trading.

The 3 million-share IPO priced at $5 each. In the stock's Sept. 30 debut, shares peaked at $5.50 but closed at $2.58, with lower closing prices in subsequent days.

The stock was recently up 1% after hours to $1.89.

Write to Josh Beckerman at josh.beckerman@wsj.com

Mon, 10 Oct 2022 19:25:00 -0500 en-US text/html https://www.marketwatch.com/story/laser-photonics-says-its-fundamentals-are-solid-271665437367
Killexams : American Vanguard Corporation (NYSE:AVD) Is Going Strong But Fundamentals Appear To Be Mixed : Is There A Clear Direction For The Stock? No result found, try new keyword!However, we decided to pay attention to the company's fundamentals which don't appear to give a clear sign about the company's financial health. In this article, we decided to focus on American ... Wed, 05 Oct 2022 00:31:00 -0500 text/html https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/american-vanguard-corporation-nyse%3Aavd-is-going-strong-but-fundamentals-appear-to-be-mixed Killexams : College Volleyball: Warriors' fundamentals hoping to bring success

WILLMAR — The Ridgewater Warriors' volleyball team has been having not-so-fun practices as it gears up for its second season under head coach Amanda Bohlsen.

Bohlsen has heavily pushed her team in practice to focus on the fundamentals of the game.

The Warriors will look to bring their fundamentals to show when their 2022 MCAC South season begins at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday against St. Cloud Technical and Community College in St. Cloud.

"St. Cloud is historically incredible," Bohlsen said. "They play a lot like us — fast paced and very calm. ... Fundamentals are going to be key for our success."

Bohlsen recruited 11 freshmen in her first true recruiting season as head coach, including five players from MACCRAY.

Many of her recruits are local athletes she has coached previously.

"We had a very, very successful recruiting season," Bohlsen said. "Comfortable is a good way to put it. Humbling is also a good way to put it — just in the fact that they're even willing to come play on my court again. ... It's a bond I have not ever had with a team."

A leader among the strong freshmen recruiting class is the "dynamic" Gabby Randt, a right-side hitter and middle blocker from MACCRAY.

Yansi Flores, a 2021 West Central Tribune All-Area Volleyball team honorable mention from YME, also joins the Warriors this season alongside Willmar High School graduate and middle hitter Abigail Samuelson.

Flores and Olivia Naatjes will serve as the team's two setters. Both will also play at the middle hitting/blocking position as well.

"That's the fun part about this year is we don't have any true setters," Bohlsen said. "We didn't get a true setter from our recruitment."

Returnees libero Tayler Schmidt, outside hitter Adelia Pierson and right-side hitter Harley Kunstleben will serve as the team's three captains this season.

Schmidt returns with a strong list of honors from the 2021 season. She was a member of the MCAC Elite team and the MCAC South All-Division team, ranking 13th in digs per set and 24th in digs in NJCAA division three volleyball.

100221.S.WCT.VBALL4.JPG
Ridgewater volleyball coach Amanda Bohlsen takes pride in being a 'different coach' and allowing discussions with her players during practices and in matches.

West Central Tribune File Photo

"The leadership that all three of them have shown — it blows my assistant and I away on a daily basis," Bohlsen said. "They have stepped into roles where they command respect, creating bonds with each of the new players."

The Warriors traveled near the Twin Cities in the last weekend of August to compete in the Anoka-Ramsey Crossover Tournament, where they went 1-3, to help them prepare for the 2022 MCAC season.

Ridgewater lost its first three matches, all sweeps, before defeating Alexandria Technical and Community College in its final match of the weekend in four sets.

"I will forever go to a crossover tournament. It is really important to show the newer class what we're facing for when we step on the court against St. Cloud," Bohlsen said. "I feel a lot more comfortable coming into tomorrow after having that experience."

Behind their massive freshman class, the Warriors will look to Improve upon their 10-11 record from 2021 in hopes of making a splash into the postseason.

"I've never in 10 years been able to lead into a season like I am this year, especially at this level with the full trust I have in every single player. It is not lost on me how special that is," Bohlsen said. "We're excited to give a good show at each game."

Mon, 10 Oct 2022 11:11:00 -0500 en text/html https://www.wctrib.com/sports/college-volleyball-warriors-fundamentals-hoping-to-bring-success
Killexams : R-MC, 3-0 and No. 18 in DIII, focuses on fundamentals that define a season

Preventive maintenance carries the week within Randolph-Macon’s football program because the Yellow Jackets so far have buzzed along without notable breakdowns.

R-MC (3-0), which does not play Saturday, is ranked No. 18 in the D3football.com poll and has outscored its opponents 137-34. Pedro Arruza, in his 19th year as Yellow Jackets coach, in a Tuesday interview recognized “a lot of good things, and a lot of things we need to clean up.”

The Yellow Jackets, selected as the favorites in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference preseason poll, beat North Carolina Wesleyan 49-7 and won at Catholic 41-7 before defeating Southern Virginia 47-20. Together, those opponents are 1-8.

Division III R-MC, like most programs at higher levels, got into the transfer market in an impactful way. Arruza’s quarterback is junior Drew Campanale, a transfer from Division II Franklin Pierce. Campanale, a resident of Shrewsbury, Mass., played in nine games last season at Franklin Pierce, which went 0-10.

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This season at R-MC, Campanale has completed 79.5% of his passes (35-44) for 517 yards, seven touchdowns and zero interceptions.

David Wallis, a senior, averages 24.6 yards on 10 receptions, with two TDs, and two running backs, junior Kwesi Clarke and senior Nick Hale, average 7 or more yards per carry. R-MC picked up 88 first downs to its opponents’ 44.

The Yellow Jackets lost three fumbles and have yet to throw their first interception. Arruza this week pushes ball security.

“Most people think of ball security as, ‘Well, how many times have you turned the ball over?’” he said. “I look at it more from the standpoint of, ‘How many times could you have turned the ball over because you’re not securing the football the way you should secure the football?’

“When you play really good teams, they’re going to find a way to pry the ball out.”

The coach wants the defensive edge set more vigorously and would like to see the Yellow Jackets tackle better and demonstrate improved blocking on the perimeter. Fundamentals, he stresses. These are among the variables that will determine the outcomes of tight games down the stretch, he projects.

If his players are in any way reluctant to appreciate how a detail or two may define a season, Arruza can, and does, point to Sept. 25, 2021.

On that day, Washington and Lee scored on the game’s final play and succeeded on a 2-point conversion to win 25-24 at Randolph-Macon. The Yellow Jackets and the Generals tied atop the ODAC with 5-1 records, but W&L won the tiebreaker, the league championship, and the conference’s automatic NCAA playoff bid by virtue of its victory in Ashland.

To R-MC players, that outcome “has been brought to their attention a fair amount,” said Arruza. His 2021 Yellow Jackets put together a 9-1 regular season and were done.

The 2022 Yellow Jackets made enough mistakes through this season’s 3-0 start for their focus to remain sharp, the coach believes. Getting better is nonnegotiable for teams with championship aspirations, Arruza suggested.

He paraphrased something he recalls famed New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick saying: “The rate of improvement relative to how much everybody else is improving, that’s what you’re competing against at this time of the year.”

joconnor@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6233

Twitter: @RTDjohnoconnor

Wed, 21 Sep 2022 01:10:00 -0500 JOHN O'CONNOR en text/html https://richmond.com/sports/college/r-mc-3-0-and-no-18-in-diii-focuses-on-fundamentals-that-define-a/article_f36f54dd-0fab-5f0a-94b7-3f037d529968.html
Killexams : “Get ‘em!” UTSA students learn self-defense fundamentals with some loud practice

One by one, the 16 students threw jabs at the necks of practice dummies, screaming “Get back!” or “Leave me alone!”

In the moment, it seemed silly, and the gym at the University of Texas at San Antonio was filled with laughter and smiles. But it had a serious undertone.

The participants in Wednesday’s free self-defense class, mostly women, were learning the “dirty dozen” fighting tactics from police officers.

“If you get in a car with someone, you’ve lost the fight,” said Sgt. Leonicio Moreno of the Bexar County Pct. 2 Constable’s Office.

A third-degree black belt in tang soo do, a Korean martial art, Moreno considered this hour and a half a “crash course” because his classes generally take three to four hours.

The training is relatively new at UTSA, especially at this interactive level, and it was ramped up last spring at the request of students, said Melody Erickson, a UTSA Police Department community affairs officer.

“Last class, girls were talking about crazy ex-boyfriends stalking them where they are, where they live and they weren’t even from the same town,” said Eric Rubio, a UTSA PD officer who directs the program.

The self-defense class was part of the programming for Domestic Violence Awareness Month by the PEACE Center at UTSA, a campus resource working to stop sexual violence. It will culminate with a Take Back the Night gathering on Tuesday that will have an open mic for survivors to share their stories, said Melissa Hernandez, the associate dean of students for Wellbeing Services.

The PEACE Center informs students on how to report incidents and offers counseling, art therapy and yoga. It was established on campus in 2018.

The same year, campus activists questioning the adequacy of UTSA’s response to sexual assaults prompted the university to hire a law firm to make sure it was complying with federal Title IX requirements.

READ MORE: UTSA students’ push against ‘rape culture’ has murky aftermath

An earlier study across the University of Texas System, which included results of a 2015 survey of UTSA students, documented a need to institutionalize violence prevention, Hernandez said.

“The task forces established a need for victims to have dedicated support,” she said. “Each year since, we’ve seen growth in those services.”

Not all incidents are reported. University data from 2019 to 2021 showed the cases of dating violence reported to any university office or UTSA police had changed little, ranging from six to eight. Incidents of domestic violence dropped from seven to just one report in 2021, and reports of stalking fell from 38 to 18.

Instructor Leonicio Moreno demonstrates several different kicks during a self-defense class at the University of Texas at San Antonio on Wednesday. (Kaylee Greenlee Beal/Contributor)

Instructor Leonicio Moreno demonstrates several different kicks during a self-defense class at the University of Texas at San Antonio on Wednesday. (Kaylee Greenlee Beal/Contributor)

Kaylee Greenlee Beal

Rubio said he’s heard from parents worried about students who were going to be living away from home for the first time, especially with crime rates up in San Antonio since the pandemic.

“This is a fairly safe campus, but crime happens in San Antonio, and it can infiltrate here,” Erickson said while giving safety tips at the start of Wednesday’s class.

Walk without headphones, she suggested — and without daydreaming about a date or a test because you’re more likely to panic if something bad happens while you’re oblivious to your surroundings.

The preferred mental state is what Moreno called “condition yellow,” not paranoid but aware of one’s surroundings.

“If a stranger comes up to you asking for directions, don’t point and turn your head in that direction, just point,” Moreno said.

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Walking home, students should never put their exact address into a maps app — use a location nearby, so if someone were to steal the phone, they wouldn’t know where the owner lived, Moreno said.

The dirty dozen was taught as a series of moves that can be memorized and used to escape from an attacker. Participants tried the moves on dummies — short and tall. It was getting loud.

“Do you get to choose how big your opponent is?” asked Moreno. “No!” yelled the students in reply.

He instructed them to strike below the rib cage and not to hit the top of the head, as that might backfire and break the victim’s hand.

As the setting sun reflected through the windows onto the gym’s waxed floor, the fighting began. Public safety officer Juan Carlos “J.C.” Martinez was the live punching bag for all 16 students, wearing full padding that including a helmet shielding his face.

Each student fought him for between 30 to 60 seconds. Martinez didn’t fight back but inched toward the students, invading their personal space and getting as close as an attacker might.

The students cheered on their classmates with shouts of “Let’s go!” and “Get ’em!” The confidence gained was visible. The most popular moves were the repeated knee to the groin and finger jabs to the eyes. One student asked Martinez if he was OK — while continuing to throw punches.

He nodded and they kept going; her time wasn’t up yet.

In the real world, 30 seconds isn’t a realistic duration, Rubio said. It takes up to two and a half minutes, on average, for police to get to a student when they’re called to an on-campus location.

“That’s a long window when you’re a victim of something,” Rubio said. “This class will give them the tools to escape or defend themselves until we arrive.”

Julianna Galindo, 19, an exploratory studies major, found her 30 seconds a blur. Galindo lives on her own, and she and her friend signed up for the class to feel more confident.

“Coming home late from work or practice, I wouldn’t know how to defend myself if something happened,” she said. “I feel safe during the day, but walking from the parking lot to the dorm at night is different.”

Alyssa Alvarado, 23, said she didn’t remember what she was thinking, but she did channel her anger when sparring with Martinez.

“Today I watched the film ‘Luckiest Girl Alive.’ It was emotional — it had to do with rape and a school shooting. I think I got anger from there,” said Alvarado, who studies biology and criminology. “There are a lot of bad things happening in the world.”


elizabeth.sander@hearst.com

Thu, 13 Oct 2022 21:06:00 -0500 en-US text/html https://www.expressnews.com/news/local/article/UTSA-students-learn-self-defense-17508084.php
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