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OPRA Courses

This page contains a sampling of a variety of different courses offered through Outdoor Programs and Recreational Athletics (OPRA).

Shotokan Karate
Shotokan Karate is an unarmed form of self-defense developed in Japan. It stresses the use of balance, timing, and coordination to avoid an attack, and strikes as an effective means of counterattack to be used only if necessary.

Hatha Yoga
A calming class with many passive postures, mostly done seated or lying down, often with the eyes closed. The focus will be on tuning-in, releasing, relaxing, stretching, and restoring energy.

Whitewater Kayaking
Learn the fundamentals of kayaking and basic whitewater skills including strokes, rescue maneuvering, eddy turns, ferrying, bracing, river reading, surfing, and the kayak roll.

Aikido is essentially a modern manifestation of traditional Japanese martial arts (Budo), derived from a synthesis of body, sword, and staff arts. Its primary emphasis is defensive, utilizing techniques of neutralization through leverage, timing, balance, and joint control. There is no emphasis on strikes or kicks, as one is trained to blend and evade rather than conflict. Beginners will practice ukemi (falling), body movement, conditioning, and several basic techniques.

Fundamentals of Soccer
This class covers basic technique and strategies of soccer. Students will spend time focusing on the rules of the game and playing.

Kyudo (Japanese Archery)
Kyudo, the Way of the Bow, has been practiced in Japan for centuries. The form of the practice is considered a type of Ritsuzen or standing Zen. It is often practiced in monasteries as an active meditation in contrast to Zazen, or seated meditation. Class members will concentrate on learning the seven co-ordinations or step-by-step shooting form. The target, which is only six feet away, serves the archer as a mirror in order to reflect the status of the archer's mind and spirit.

RAD Physical Self-Defense
The Rape Aggression Defense system is a program of realistic self-defense tactics and techniques. The system is a comprehensive course for women that begins with awareness, prevention, risk reduction, and avoidance, while progressing on to the basics of hands-on defense training.

Strength Training
This course will give you first-hand experience in weight lifting, stretching, and aerobic activity. Students will learn how to use the machines, barbells, and dumbells in the Multisport Weight-Room. The course will also include conditioning, using various workouts on the track.

Outdoor Adventure Sampler
This course is an opportunity to experience the many activities that make up outdoor adventure. Students will be introduced to natural areas in the local region. In the winter, activities may include snowshoeing and cross country skiing. As spring arrives, students will canoe, sea kayak, hike, climb, and visit a cave.

Openwater SCUBA Certification         
This is a N.A.U.I. sanctioned course leading to openwater SCUBA certification. One and one-half hours of pool time and one and one-half hours of classroom instruction per week.

Top Rope Climbing
Students will learn basic safety techniques, rope work, knots, and climbing techniques. Enjoy the opportunity to exercise your body and mind using the indoor climbing wall and local climbing areas.

Outdoor Leadership
This course addresses outdoor leadership from both a theoretical and practical perspective. Readings and discussions will focus on such topics as leadership theory; safety and risk management; legal responsibilities; group development theory; gender and social justice issues; and the educational use of the wilderness.

Fundamentals of Basketball
If you like basketball but have little or no experience playing it, then this is the class for you. Students will work on the basic skills of basketball, such as dribbling, passing, shooting, rebounding, and defense.


Contact Us

Outdoor Program / Recreational Athletics (OPRA)
Robert Crown Center
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002

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