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.
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!