Women & Children First!

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Women & Children First!

Postby Lori » Mon Oct 12, 1998 8:01 pm

Remember the movie "Titanic?" Faced with imminent peril - the weaker sex and their progeny are herded onto the few lifeboats available - while the heroine defies the relative safety and dubious escape from the doomed ship and returns to almost certain death to save the one she loves! There is an example of a primitive emotion defying reason to act courageously! Faced with defending loved ones - women call upon inner resources previously unknown to themselves and perform heroic acts that defy belief...lifting cars, stabbing an assailant with scissors, examples abound. Alone, she may succumb to a victim mentality under initial verbal assault - but when that assault is re-directed to her loved ones - the mother bear shows her fangs! Motivating a woman to recognize this latent primtive instinct within must be one of any martial arts/self-defense instructor's foremost objectives when working with women - otherwise practice becomes a futile exercise in trying to "keep up" with the physical advantages of male practitioners.

On the subject of the "mother-bear" instinct...there are situations often unique to the female of our species that set up unique self-defense scenarios. In Ocala Florida about 2 years back, a mother and her two young girls went to the local 7-eleven for a gallon of milk - a quiet, rural neighborhood by the way - while strapping her youngest into the seat, an assailant jumped in the car, pulled her in - stuck a gun in her side and ordered her to drive down the road - she shouldn't have complied of course, but she did - struck by the terror of the situation she followed orders - within moments they were in an isolated area where the assailant brutally raped and beat all three - the girls died and the mother lived, but barely, and toward what kind of future now? Certainly she fought to the best of her ability, and leaving the parking lot was not the first mistake, but what I would like to explore here is the vulnerable position mothers are in on a regular basis when performing routine tasks involving the care of their children in public places. This situation came about while she was strapping her child into a car seat - millions of mothers do this a number of times a day - in cities, in driveways, at daycares, grocery stores, gas stations etc. In my women's self-defense class I teach the women to be aware of the entire parking lot and potential hiding places before even approaching their car! From there, they should approach their car from the opposite side, even checking under the car before getting close. When dealing with young children, put them into the back seat and enter with them, locking the door behind them. Strap the kids in, then look around again, exit and re-enter in the front - maintaining awareness at all times. Overkill? Some would say so in some of the laid-back and peaceful low-crime areas of the south. I don't think the mother I wrote about above would think so now.

Any other helpful suggestions or situations that create special defense scenarios?


[This message has been edited by Lori (edited 10-12-98).]
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Women & Children First!

Postby david » Tue Oct 13, 1998 11:49 am


As you pointed out, awareness is the first and most important piece of self-defense.

Some things with parking lots with many cars. Don't necessarily go straight to your car. Do a small loop to seem if there is anyone hiding behind, in front, to the side of the adjacent cars.

Have your key ready.

Your idea about getting in the back with the child and locking the door is great.

If caught, as that women and her children did, the best bet is never, never let the attacker get you to a secluded spot where he has time and environment on his side.

One can and should fight if one has that inclination (there are plenty of women with that inclination).

Some ideas that never dawned on me from Bo Hardy in his book, "Defensive Living":

Remember the attacker/rapist/killer wants to get you to a secluded place first. Here are some ways to thwart him without necessarily fighting (though you may still need to and be prepared for that).

1. When the attacker tries to get you into the car to drive (he want this to keep an eye on you), drop to the ground as if you passed out. Dead weight is hard to move and will slow him down. Other people may also notice him dragging you.

2. GET RID OF THE CAR KEYS. If you play "passed out", slide the keys under the car. IF you decide to actively not cooperate, toss the keys as far as you can. If you're already in the car, toss the keys to the back. If you decide fight, fight with the keys, but if you're overwhelmed, toss the keys as far as you can.

3. If you in a lot with other people around, scream, "FIRE!" Don't scream, "RAPE!" Sadly, the latter may scare people away because they don't want to get "involved."

4. Again, never go willingly with an attacker. The outcomes of such cases are not very good for the victim. Put up resistance where you have a chance of getting help, even if you were to get stabbed or shot in the process. Where he wants to take you, you can be assured will leave little chance for outside interference.

The above applies mostly to women because of percentage of such attacks against them. However, men have also been subjected to this type of attack. The above strategy will work for men, although I sense that the attacker may more readily take immediate retaliation that may not be taken on a woman (there's nothing to back me on this).


[This message has been edited by david (edited 10-13-98).]

[This message has been edited by david (edited 10-13-98).]
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Women & Children First!

Postby Jason Bernard » Tue Oct 13, 1998 1:41 pm

On a unrelated note, if the woman (Rose) in
"Titanic" had of stayed on the lifeboat
Jack very likely would have survived. Keep
in mind that ultimately Jack and Rose (in
tow) made it to a piece of debris that
had room for *one*. That one would end up
being Rose, but would have been Jack if she
had of stayed in the lifeboat. *sigh*
I did enjoy the movie, but my males friends
and I love poking fun (at our female friends) about that (i.e. that they will get
us killed someday). :-)

Anyway back to reality... I have little
to add to David's post.

One thing I caution any woman about is the
much beloved knee to groin strike. This
particular strike is actually very
ineffective unless properly delivered and
worse yet puts the person off balance.
(note, ask every non-martial artist woman you
know how they would defend themselves if
attacked. I am willing to bet 8/10 answer
... "I would just knee him in the groin").

Rather in the self defense class I taught at
University, simply bring up your fists or
palm and strike and strike and strike and
strike and strike and strike (hopefully
with your keys in your hand). Do NOT try
to aim (unless you are skilled you will miss
and it will slow you down). The idea is to
strike to the face as fast and hard as
possible. Even if some of the shots miss,
most of them won't and the face is VERY
vulnerable to damage (nose and eyes). If
you are dragged to the ground THEN is the
time to start with the knee strikes. The idea here is to capture the inner beast
and just fight!

Jason Bernard
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Women & Children First!

Postby Lori » Tue Oct 13, 1998 8:55 pm

David-san and Jason-san,

Good posts! Good points by both - David, the point about getting rid of the car keys is very good - may actually buy some precious moments - not too mention it may discourage an assailant when chances of easy get away are diminished...Great tip for males and females alike. That point is now a part of my course notes!

Good point about the ole "knee to the groin" strike Jason - women in my classes always respond with that when questioned as to what would be a technique they would try initially - a little discussion on chemical cocktail and feedback from law enforcement officials who have had to take down drug-crazed suspects soon changes their opinion and they begin to explore other possiblities. My only problem with repeated facial attack with bare hands for women is that when a woman goes into "resist" mode with multiple strikes to the face - they are more like ineffectual slaps easily avoided by tilting the head back - and - if she is hitting with a closed hand she may end up doing more damage to herself on the assailants teeth - As much as we can work on penetrating strikes to eyes and throat, they still must work on developing the all important "mindset" so they don't lapse into that ineffectual pushing...

NOW - as for Titanic, Jason-san! With all due respect I think you forget an important part! Jack was arrested for the stolen "heart of the sea" BEFORE Rose ever had her first chance at the life boat! From there the scallywags handcuffed him below decks and promptly abandoned him to a watery grave! If Rose wouldn't have gone back to find him, and dragged that axe along - they never would have had those few precious moments left together - and life is so short as it is! Those last few moments together had to be worth it - weren't they?

Plus - there was way too much working against Jack - between the handcuffs, the rising water, the locked gates, and then the jilted ex-fiance shooting at him (same actor that played in This WORLD and then the FIREWORKS BTW), then the vortex of the sinking ship - PLEASE! He didn't stand a chance - wasn't it better that they had a few last moments of intensity to share together...


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Postby Van Canna » Wed Oct 14, 1998 3:23 am

Lori -san ,

You wrote "while
strapping her youngest into the seat, an assailant jumped in the
car, pulled her in - stuck a gun in her side and ordered her to drive
down the road - she shouldn't have complied of course, but she did
- struck by the terror of the situation she followed orders -"

You and David are of course correct in indicating that there should be no compliance and that one should avoid at all cost being taken to the so called ' secondary crime scene ' where doom is certain ! But the reality is that the average woman devoid of 'mindset' training [ only dan rank and a nice pat on the shoulder by sensei] when confronted by a gun pointing at her, or her children , will panic …the gun is not only terrifying but paralyzing , the brain cannot think , the violent criminal knows this and uses the gun to intimidate into submission !

"Death threats override and suppress our natural instinct of survival and we freeze up "[Strong]>> How about that one !!

Or this one " Fear of injury boxes you in and won't allow you to be full of savage animal rage . Your mind turns you into a helpless victim, you see no recourse but to obey . Nothing can help you if you cannot get past the overwhelming terror of bodily injury " ??

Lot's of books , as well as martial arts instructors , don't take this into account when they teach ! The bull s#$% you especially get from the 'enlightened ' traditional sensei is particularly hilarious , especially when delivered with a pompous ass demeanor !

Here is something else that most people know nothing about until they experience it : " During a life or death crisis , the mind tends to float …away from the crisis at hand ..it happens because we tend to avoid hard choices during hard times ..this leaves you open to being dominated by orders from someone willing and able to kill you " [Strong]

I once had a case where a guy strapped to a tree up 25 feet cutting branches with a power saw , came loose and began to fall ! He told me that his brain shut down and he passed out almost immediately for he could not deal with the thought of the pain when hitting the ground !

Yes, the advice given is solid , but it must contain a choice mindset component in order to trigger action which might or might not get you killed anyway ! You must evaluate your fears way ahead of time and decide what you fear most …you and your child being controlled by a violent attacker/rapist at a secluded secondary crime scene, or getting shot or stabbed , and you might be , during your initial resistance ! Not easy choices Ha !!

And yet it has been demonstrated over and over that mindsetting before violence counters that floating sensation , giving impetus to concentration and resultant , immediate , direct and explosive action ..scream loud always ..blocks out the fear ..gives you powerful instincts …run away even under the gun if you must ..if you get shot it might not be fatal or the punk may miss ! If you are in the car already ..crash the car !

Act like Rose did in "Titanic" when she punched the line employee in the face when he refused to help her free her lover from the chains ! If every woman could summons such powerful feelings in total disregard of her own fears and catapult in such ferocious action , she would survive more likely than not !

This type of mind conditioning is very difficult to achieve and women must really reach to their depths and come up in cold determination to be effective ! It is more a matter of feelings than anything else >>> and don't believe any of the crap handed down by the 'masters of tradition' most of them have never been in a real life or death confrontation , much less a real fight ! - Why some 'senseis' are so terrified of guns they won't even touch one much less own one in the house or know their basic functions ..yet they will tell you what to do against one !

Strong goes on to say that begging and pleading , not only embolden the attacker ..because he loves to see the fear in you eyes , but because it robs you of precious time sapping your initial primitive rage ! The longer it takes you to react ,the less likely it is that you will !

Regards ,

Van Canna
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Postby Jason Bernard » Wed Oct 14, 1998 1:40 pm

Osu Lori!

About the repeated facial attack. My class
was VERY short (only a few weeks) and my
first piece of advice to anybody coming
through the door was get out of my class
and join a good martial arts school if you
want to become a decent fighter. A 3-4 week
self defense class compared to years of martial study is like comparing first aid to
a medical degree.

So the intent was to show them tactics (just attack to the face as fast and hard
as possible) and then teach them the ability
to pull it off, all the while trying to
instill the mindset as best as possible in
such a short time. Given enough time I agree
with you wholeheartedly that the training
should (and would) be completely different
(i.e. more skills->tactics instead of

mindset mindset mindset mindset
mindset mindset mindset mindset

The proceeding says tactics being enhanced
by skills surrounded by mindset. This
represents my course.

In the last week I would show them "advanced"
techniques to improve their aim so that
they could strike for the softer parts of
the body. And even a couple of good kicks
to the knee.

Important I don't know if there is
anybody out there who is reading this
and has done a self defense course but if
you are then this message is for you:

How much of your class to you
honestly remember?

Answer, likely not much. If you are not
constantly practicing your skills
then they are likely already lost to you
and certainly will be in a fight. If you
want to be serious about self defence you
have to put in the time through constant

Back to Titanic. There is no denying
that Rose did save Jack's life earlier on
(from the handcuffs et al), but ultimately
she proved to be his destruction by not
staying on the lifeboat (see previous
message). So I guess you could say that women are good for you temporarily but in the long run they will kill you. :-)

Plus, need I remind you that it was Jack who
saved Rose from jumping off the ship in
the first place. Rose owed Jack her life.
She owed it to him to try to return the
favour. Isn't there an old Chinese
tradition that if you save a person's life
then you owe them yours unless/until you save
their life (isn't that the plot of a million
bad movies or something? If it is on TV
it must be true). I am not sure what statement I could make about this ... but I am sure there is something in there.

Please take the proceeding paragraphs with
the jest that they are intended.

By the way, I enjoyed Titanic. I
thought it was a very good movie. I am not
being a typical male and picking the movie

Jason Bernard
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Women & Children First!

Postby Lori » Thu Oct 15, 1998 4:58 am

Hello all -

This thread is getting quite dimensional - some of the development is very timely - I'm happy to be referring new self-defense students here during such discussion...


Thank you for contributing your thoughts on an all-important link between our forums - the development of mindset has got to be the single most important factor in any type of self-defense training for women - I like the word/idea picture Jason-san draws with mindset surrounding skill and tactics - I place much more emphasis on this in my classes these days - starting from day one introducing concepts of mindsetting, awareness, and primitive reaction under mental and physical stress - reception from wide-eyed students is almost always good - and more often than not they show up at the next class with a friend they have been discussing these concepts with during the week - kind of a grass roots rebellion!

Resistance, screaming, and attitude are all components of the class - and my favorite vehicle to bring forth a woman's inner strength is the "mother-bear" instinct we've discussed previously - it is frightening to face our worst fears ahead of time - no one wants to think of such horrors - yet if the worst case scenario can be played out ahead of time in the mind - then perhaps the reality can be managed better during that "floating" you speak of during a life-or-death situation. Thank you for your eloquent expression of points most important to this forum...


We seem to have a very similar course outline and philosophy! It is gratifying to see someone treating this subject with realism and concern instead of the posturing and egotism while making a few bucks that is yet another predator on women today! Women are SCARED and go to these courses to find some way to feel safer! Too many so called Martial Arts schools are capitalizing on this today with quick fix courses that I'm sure do some good in increasing a woman's self-confidence and may even give her some basic skills - but without the "tactics enhanced by skills surrounded by mindset" as the main thrust of the program - these courses MISS THE WHOLE POINT! We need more programs like yours out there - keep up the good work! And thank you for outlining your philosophy here - hopefully other instructors who have considered self-defense classes will take note and/or incorporate some of these concepts into their programs.

Now, as for the Titanic again,
I am enjoying the riposte! Image Let's see now - this is getting into interpretation here - do you really think Rose was actually going to jump in the first place? I believe even Jack said he knew she wasn't really going to jump...I think they ended up responsible for each other in that tradition...

As far as women being good for you but killing you in the long run - there is a poem by Ovid that fits that - I'll post it in another thread...enjoy!

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Postby Jason Bernard » Thu Oct 15, 1998 1:50 pm

Osu Sensei Lori,

Thank you for your kind words of support.
I no longer teach that class or any other
class for that matter. I was very concerned
that even though I was doing my best to
teach these women that I might be causing
more harm then good. Plus, to be honest,
at the time (this was 5 years ago) I didn't have the experience to really be teaching.
I had a lot more to learn then and and eve more to learn now. Becoming a teacher has to
come at the right time in your life. You
must close off the chapter of being a
non-teacher (I don't want to say student
because we are all always students) before
moving on the next chapter.

Now Titantic. Whether Rose intended
to or not ... she did slip and fall (this
slipping was unrelated to Jack's presense (sp?)). Therefore, although Jack may or may
not have prevented her suicide (one may
argue that she intended to jump but Jack's bluff "You aren't going to jump" talked her down), he certainly prevented her accidental death.

Of course, (and I hate myself for mentioning
this), but Cal kind of drove Rose to attempt
suicide so maybe I am wrong about all this.

Jason Bernard
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