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 Post subject: 3 hours vrs 21 years
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2001 7:08 pm 
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Location: Brockton, MA, USA
I was reading the Boston Center for Adult Education class registration information book today. I get these books because I took a Technical Writing class there this past Autumn.

I happened to be glancing over the Exercise and Self-Defense curriculum and came upon the IMPACT Model Mugging: Personal Safety and Self-Defense Workshop.

Here is the course description:
In three life-changing hours, increase your safety and self-confidence. Gain practical prevention skills and easy-to-learn self-defense techniques. Reduce or avoid conflict using verbal communication, and learn self-defense basics. Practice your skills on a padded instructor, and come away with increased confidence and the skills you need to respond appropriately when you are frightened or intimidated. This workshop is taught by two certified instructors. Wear loose, comfortable clothing.

The cost of this class is listed at $45 for members and $49 for non-members. They have three sessions listed for June 25, July 21, and August 20.

They also have this endorsement listed below the proceeding information:

IMPACT was chosen Best of Boston by “Boston Magazine” and has been featured in national and local media, including “Oprah,” “NBC Nightly News,” National Public Radio, the “Wall Street Journal,” and the “Boston Globe.” IMPACT is named by best-selling author Gavin de Becker (“The Gift of Fear” and “Protecting the Gift”) as the “best self-defense course for women.”

I began thinking about how women can easily respond to this course as a quick way to learn about verbal confrontation recognition. However, the more I thought about it the more concerned I was. This course is supposed to include self-defense techniques. Wait a minute here. I have been training for 21 years in the art of self-defense. I study with Van Sensei, who is always telling us that under the HOLY ***T moment we may forget 90% of what we have learned. IN ADDITION, WE PRACTICE THIS STUFF EVERY DAY! What retention could a women possibly get out this 3 HOUR COURSE unless they were attacked immediately after leaving the class.

Then, I read in Van’s forum this beautiful story:

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>The story is of a student of martial arts, someone who sees himself as strong, decisive, courageous, one who trains assiduously, daily, with perseverance, great focus, and attitude.
Yet, he feels inadequate..He throws a few kicks…a few punches here and there, does a little sparring, looks at himself in the mirror and sees a reflection of a heavy mind in a rigid body, inflexible in body and mind, and preconceived ideas.

In spite of his tormenting stretching routine, roadwork, weight training, he never feels as light as he should, as supple as he should, he always feels like he is carrying a heavy weight on his shoulders.

A couple times that he found himself in a street fight, he took a beating, unable to put into practice the “martial concepts” he has tried so hard to make his own.


One day he decides to go a great master for advice. The master, laughing, points to him and calls his attention to a great sack of potatoes on his back. The student looks at himself in the mirror, and imagine his stupor, when he does in fact notice for the first time the huge load, heavy and ugly.

The master then explains that this is the reason why his defensive techniques in the real street fight are inefficient; imagine, he says, how a person bound by such burden could throw fancy powerful kicks, lightning punches, jump and move as a cat___ impossible.

So the student asks of the master why he has no such “sack of potatoes” on his back.

The master patiently explains that even the student, with practice, could shed the burden, but it would be very difficult.

The “potatoes” are the student’s greed, envies, dreams of power, dominion over others, money, riches, and materialism.

Every day, more often than not, we are recipients of so many “potatoes” [in the sense of fruits of the earth] that we end up loading on our backs.

Think about who and what you really are, every day of your life, how you impact others, how well you are liked by others, how well you like yourself, what does your reflection in the mirror tells about the person you are looking at.
------------------
Van Canna<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


How will the students of this workshop be able to use these great self-defense techniques and verbal defusion skills. Do they have the sack of potatoes on their backs? Maybe if they take this course, there is no time to develop any of those attitudes. Heck, a 3 hour class with verbal diffusion skills alone, never mind the self-defense techniques, is not enough.

I used to wonder why more women do not take a full martial arts course in a reputable academy if they really want to be able to learn about these skills.

Now I know why! It is these quick (but not cheap) courses, which use famous endorsers, which may make women aware of the need to develop these skills. One thing they do not realize is this course should be taken only as a prerequisite to a full karate curriculum.

I hope that anyone who takes this course will consider the fact that; to be efficient in any of these skills they must be practiced frequently to be effective. And even then some may not work.

There is plenty of space in my dojo!


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Len


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 Post subject: 3 hours vrs 21 years
PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2001 12:06 am 
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
Quote:
I used to wonder why more women do not take a full martial arts course in a reputable academy if they really want to be able to learn about these skills.
Because it's too tough.

However, the ad is well-worded and reads quite true. No where does it say they will be able to safely save themselves against an assailant.

On the other hand, sometimes all it takes is a little stupid overconfidence, especially when the attacker is a coward.

------------------
Allen Moulton from Uechi-ryu Etcetera


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 Post subject: 3 hours vrs 21 years
PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2001 3:07 am 
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Location: Halifax, NS Canada
Fly in the ointment time Image A "self defence" course was how I got involved in Uechi-ryu. I had no desire to learn anything about the martial arts until I took a self-defence course with a girlfriend who was into Uechi. Next thing I know I'm at the dojo putting on my white pajamas and I'm hooked. I don't think it's fair to totally disparage self-defence courses - sometimes they DO get women into the arts!! Image


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 Post subject: 3 hours vrs 21 years
PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2001 11:47 am 
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Posts: 988
Location: Randolph, MA USA 781-963-8891
Len,

As a person who has taught numerous women's self-defense programs for towns, churches, private organizations, I can tell you that the "Model Mugging" program, much like Tae Bo, and any other crap that is being promoted out there is extremely dangerous. Why? Because it gives the woman a false sense of security.

I am not being chauvenistic here, simply that these programs were designed for women mostly. You teach a women that by screaming at a "Michelin Tire Dummy" that they will be able to defend themselves is ludicrous. Or, by throwing some kicks and punches 1000 times to the sweet sounds of Janet Jackson is going to give them enough confidence to face that guy in the alley late on night is nonsense.

The reality behind it all is that Van sensei is correct; unless practiced constantly, techniques will be forgotten in the time of need. Panic, instead, will set in, and then all the yelling in the world will do you no good. I always taught at my courses two or three techniques from various positions in order to get the women comfortable with at least one; knowing of course that in the occurance of a rape, they will have to go through at least one of the positions, and that, as of stats in the middle 90s, 98% of all rapes were done without the use of a weapon. BUT, the women were also told at the end of the course that unless they continue to practice the movements, that they too will be lost.

What is boils down to is the almightly dollar. Model Mugging got all the press and probably still makes a lot of money. Unfortunately, there are many women out there who were suckered in and now think they are prepared for such an attack. I feel sorry for them.

mike


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 Post subject: 3 hours vrs 21 years
PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2001 2:04 pm 
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Location: Brockton, MA, USA
Hi Mary

You were/are the smart one. Image

I put this message
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>One thing they do not realize is this course should be taken only as a prerequisite to a full karate curriculum.

I hope that anyone who takes this course will consider the fact that; to be efficient in any of these skills they must be practiced frequently to be effective.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
in the first post to make women aware that they should take a full karate program or at least course like Tony Blauer's. One should not rely on one three hour seminar to become proficient in self-defense.

Mike, I can't argue with you about anything you wrote. You make valid points about what I am trying to convey to women and men who think that a three hour course will be sufficient enough to learn basic self-defense. How can anyone be comfortable with even the basic movements in three hours. Check that, it is less than three hours of self-defense movements because they will spend some time on the verbal self-defense.

I believe all women who take this class should go the same route as Mary did. If they really believe that they CAN defend themselves after a three hour course, the reality of a confrontation, the possibility that something will not work, will cause them to reconsider and to sign up for a full karate or self-defense program.

I am not trying to discourage women or men from taking these seminars, I just want to point out that it takes many years of practice to gain the confidence and ability to be effective. Use this seminar as a stepping stone to a full program if you feel that you really nedd to learn self-defense.

There are many schools who offer inexpensive introductory programs that may include an entire month or more of training.

Enrolling in a full time karate course at your local karate academy is the best training you can get for the money spent.

Confidence begins with experience. Experience can only be acheived by constant practice.




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Len


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 Post subject: 3 hours vrs 21 years
PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2001 2:46 pm 
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Allen

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
Quote:
Because it is too tough.


I don't buy that.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
Quote:
However, the ad is well-worded and reads quite true. No where does it say they will be able to safely save themselves against an assailant.


But they do say that you can reduce or avoid conflict by using verbal communication.

Many martial artists who have years of training in the physical aspects of self-defense do not feel comfortable that they can reduce let alone avoid confrontation by verbal self-defense. This is due to the fact that verbal self-defense is not always taught and practiced in most dojo.




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Len


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 Post subject: 3 hours vrs 21 years
PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2001 7:05 pm 
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I agree Dana. The women I've seen succeed in MA had something in them... their background, personalities... that allowed them to hit and be hit. The ones I've seen quit after two weeks couldn't get used to the idea of learning how to hurt someone. I don't have a solution for the problem Image

It's rare I see a man not succeed in MA because he doesn't want to hurt someone. Usually they quit becuase they think they already know how to defend against anything.


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 Post subject: 3 hours vrs 21 years
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2001 5:10 am 
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Posts: 270
Location: Washington, DC
From my own experience I would say that the reason most women do not stay or sign up for 'regular" martial arts classes is that the programs are based on training methods designed by men for men to use on other men.

When any kind of accomodation is made to the training methods it was often done with the "we usually do it this way but I guess we can make a exception for you (since you're a woman) and you can just make it work like this" kind of attitude that puts a woman on the defensive for not being, thinking, and acting like a man.

Otherwise women would be perfectly comfortable and dojo populations would reflect life and be 50% male, 50% female.

But there something in the current culture of most martial arts schools that is not welcoming to women. Obviously something in the culture of aerobics classes & Tae Bo classes is very welcoming to women but not as welcoming to men.

Do most teachers care to find out what that is? Both are group activities, both are physical, both have an instructor -- so why mostly men in one and mostly women in the other?

My guess would be the answer lies in how hitting between people - both getting hit and hitting someone else - is held in the mind of a woman vs how it is held in the mind of a man. Hitting things is done in lots of cardio-kicking classes but hitting people and taking hits from people (men) is not.

thoughts?

Dana


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 Post subject: 3 hours vrs 21 years
PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2001 5:49 am 
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Most women quit because of the hitting, whether it is given or taken.

I have seen the drop out rate for women increase after about 6 - 9 months of training when the contact begins to get harder as each student begins to step it up a little bit.

The sparring doesn't have to be fast or hard either. The occurance of the occasional shin to shin mistake in combat can be extreemly painful for days. Not to mention bruises and hematoma (sp?) that may be visible while wearing evening attire.

One good thing, about these quick seminar courses, is that they can make women aware that confidence in your ability to fight back will greatly enhance the chance of surviving a violent confrontation. However, I do not believe that confidence can be gainied simply by wailing away against an attacker who causes no physical retaliation.

The course is basically designed to give women the knowledge that they can fight back. By challenging, instead of just giving in, most attackers will reconsider escallating. However it is the few attackers that do not back down that become trouble for the women who just take these special seminars and believe that is all they need to know.

I can see benefit in these courses. They are constructed with the theory that a little bit of everything one needs to know can be acheived in a relatively short amount of time. Although, they cover too much material in so few hours, that it is impossible for someone to retain it all especially in the Holy ***t momement.

Even if it was possible to retain much of what was shown in these courses, when one goes home to practice these techniques, there will be no one there with them to critic the techniques.

Studying self-defense is not just, if A happens then do B. These courses do not teach the many alternative defenses to the multitude of attacks. They show you a few good manuvers that may work or not depending on how frequent the person practices them and how confident the person is in the ability to execute them.

By studying in a full karate curriculum, you begin to develop the skills needed to thwart a variety of attacks. There is always a certified instructor criticizing each mistake and demanding that they practice more. How many people push themselves with constant practice when they do not have to face a teacher or sensei who is expecting success? The graduates of these seminars are left to practice these techniques on their own.

As an owner of a dojo, I am going to research conducting a similar type of seminar to be held maybe once every three months, that will introduce women to the art of karate and verbal confrontation resolution. A specialized course that will include basic karate with real life examples of how confrontations escallate. At least I can make a pitch for them to continue their training because everyone knows that "practice makes perminant."



------------------
Len


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