Moderator: Megan Lieff
Why was ignoring the aggressor not promoted in your class?
The brain is one big pattern matching machine. When something happens, the first thing your brain tries to do is to match a similar pattern to the action. Now if this is an action you've done alot (like riding a bike) then the pattern is so quickly accessed and used it's called "automaticity
". However, if you don't have a pattern to match your brain will keep trying and keep trying and keep trying. Just like how your hard drive spins when it's trying to follow a program sequence.
We've all seen people standing their with their brains spinning. For some people it happens when they see or are in a car wreck. For others it's a simple as not being able to act when a dishtowel catches fire in the kitchen.
Just like any other cognitive skill - some peple are going to be better at matching patterns than others.
To me - this is where the self-defense seminar can be a HUGE help to many. Even if the pattern isn't practiced and deepened to the point of automaticity - it at least gives many women and men some kind of a base pattern to access so that their brains don't freeze up.
Will these unpracticed people always respond in an efficient manner to an attack on their safety? Probably not. But at the very least they'll have a starting point. And for some, after they start - their will to survive will kick in and keep them going.
One of the very key messages in a self-defense class to get across to folks (IMHO) is the idea of "you may think of yourself as a nice person - but when another person is doing something to you that's not nice, and will likely hurt you a whole bunch - then you need to give yourself permission to not be nice back."
Dana Sheets wrote:I just attended a self-defense class for women today. It was 5 hours -- 10:00 am - 3:00 pm.
We covered (in about this order):
-The continuum of threat from cat calls to armed rape
-Boundary awareness (having people walk toward you to figure out when you got uncomfortable)
-Making your voice, your body language, and your use of space send the send message (No)
-How to face your aggressor (basically sanchin without the toe in) & hold your arms – elbows bent and near the body, hands close to the body in front of the sternum (a non-escalating posture.) Did worked on keeping the aggressor in front of you by pivoting around your front foot so that you’re not backing up.
-Shouting. Shouting “No!”
-Body weapons: palm heel, tips of the fingers in a bundle to hit the eyes, hammer fist, elbow, knee, foot & later hips. At this point we did palm heels on focus mitts while yelling “No!” We did eye strikes at the air while yelling “No!.”
-Targets: eyes, throat/neck, groin (testicles), knee (the teacher showed kicks and stomps to the outside of the knee, inside of the knee and back of the knee), top of foot, temple
-Partner work: Then a partner would stand still and we would walk around them throwing techniques while shouting out the target. ***Targets were only indicated, not hit. We were to work full circle around the partner. If you couldn’t think of a variety of techniques to throw you were to keep throwing the same techniques without stopping until another target came to mind. The goal was to keep aiming at targets. We did it for 45 seconds each. Most of the women were pretty wiped out at the end of the 45 seconds.
-Verbal scenarios (at the bus stop, at work, on the street, at a bar)
-Descalation of verbal scenarios
-Lecture on reported incidents to indicate who is really most likely to attack you. We also talked about race bias, gender bias, sexual orientation bias, and how they pertain to who’s attacking you and why they’re attacking you.
Women are attacked 94% of the time by people of their own race.
Women are attacked most of the time by people they know.
The average ratio of attacker to victim is 1.3:1.
(She didn’t cite a source for her stats)
-We talked about the importance of identifying characteristics of dangerous behavior rather than assuming a group people is dangerous based on age, race, geographical location, etc.
-Then we sat in a circle and each person would put their hand on the knee of the woman next to them (play the role of an aggressor giving unwanted touch.) The woman being touched would use verbal skills to indicate she didn’t want the hand there, and if that didn’t work she would use physical skills (like pushing the hand away.)
-We talked about myths in self-defense and had a short Q & A so women could ask about things they’d been told to do but weren’t sure about.
-We talked about what are our personal barriers to defending ourselves and how each of us was going to work on those issues in concrete practical ways.
-Knee strikes – first hitting our own hands. We were told that the knee strike should be like hitting the bottom of a table, not into a door. So under & up, not forward.
-Rear attacks – when grabbed from behind we were to try and get our hands on the aggressor and use our legs to stomp or kick the knees. If we had a hand free we were to slap the groin, grab for the testicles and pull downwards dropping our body weight. Then move to elbows to the head or knees to the head until you feel you could run away or stay and finish if you felt you couldn’t run away.
-Ground fighting part I – The teacher suggested that a woman should consider fighting from the ground using their legs if there is only one aggressor. The teacher stressed that a woman should never go to the ground if there is more than one aggressor and if she gets knocked to the ground she should fight like hell to get back on her feet. We started from a side position on the ground where you might end up by choice or if you fall or are pushed down. Example: Lie on your left hip, support yourself up on your left elbow & forearm, right hand on the ground near your elbow, right leg up to kick. We did heel thrust kicks, side thrust kicks and ax kicks from this position. We practiced how to switch from side to side without exposing your centerline by keeping your knees bent and your hands close together when you switched sides. We practiced moving from side to side and around in a circle to keep the aggressor at our feet.
-Ground fighting part II was when the aggressor has already mounted or grabbed you (like if you’re in bed or asleep at the beach.) We used a pelvic thrust when the aggressor was straddled over our hips while we were on our backs. The thrust was very effective at knocking the aggressor forward as long as the aggressor had most of their weight bearing down on you. Then we did partner work with the partner playing the aggressor of grabbing you or mounting you while you were lying down. You were to shout and hit targets with your body weapons until you could run away. Or, if you couldn’t run away (i.e. you’re in the middle of nowhere and you’d have to run 20 miles for help) then you were to keep hitting until the aggressor didn’t move.
***Keep in mind that when we did partner work there was NO contact with the strikes. The targets were indicated and shouted out.
-Bag work: We did knee strikes on the bag, then dropping to the ground position to do kicks on the bag from the ground.
-Final Scenarios: a variety of scenes (1 scenario for each woman) where you were to use the skills you learned that day to defend yourself. The aggressor was one of the instructors – there was no contact with the strikes. We were to yell “No” or yell our targets and keep going until we felt we could run away.
-Final discussion period & wrap up
Feedback? Thoughts? Concerns? Compliments? Questions?
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