Once I realized I needed to learn some self defense techniques, I started looking around. I went to the computer and googled several key words. I went to the Sheriff’s Office on Golden Hill and tried to apply for a gun permit. I asked around. Most of these efforts were total dead ends. I found one place that seemed promising…until they told me they didn’t train women.
Oh well, I’ve heard that story all my life.
“Sorry, we don’t hire women.”
“Sorry, we don’t rent to women.”
“Sorry, our school has no women students.”
“Sorry, you can’t join the chess club. We don’t have any women members.”
“Sorry, the Marines don’t take women.”
So, here I was…ready to learn to defend myself. I wanted to learn to win a violent encounter. What was I going to do?
I began to think about what I needed. I came up with some criteria. The list may be helpful for you if you’re in a similar situation.
The first thing is to CHOOSE SOMETHING THAT’S NOT GOING TO TAKE THE REST OF YOUR LIFE TO LEARN. If it takes a couple of years to learn a few effective techniques, what happens if a mugger appears or a barroom brawl erupts in the next couple of months?
The second thing is SOMETHING THAT ISN’T GOING TO TAKE EVERY WEEK TO KEEP YOUR SKILLS UP. You want something that you’re going to be able to learn and keep your skill level up for the rest of your life. You want something you can learn the same way you learned to drive a car or walk in heels. Once you have the skill, you want to have the skill. Or, that’s how I feel about it, anyway.
The third thing is TRAINING THAT’S NOT JUST A LOT OF FANCY PEACOCKING OR SHOWBOATING. I went to a demonstration where the students were mesmerizing. It was a real life Harry Potter show. My first question was: “Am I going to break my best hip learning this”? My next question was: “Is this what serial killers and rapists do?” Somehow, I just wasn’t convinced.
The fourth thing is TRAINING THAT’S GOING TO WORK FOR EVERYONE. Let’s face it. I’m a cotton top. You may be a lovely 30-something. In a real life assault, we’re going to both have to do the same thing. So, try to find a teacher who doesn’t care whether you’re short, tall, fat, thin, go to the gym everyday or never.
The fifth thing is to FIND TRAINING THAT THROWS AWAY THE RULES. When we train to protect ourselves, we’re not in a competition. Rule books are just not part of the scenario when someone wants your purse or your life. Teachers who prepare students for competition scenarios are just not being real, not for what I need anyway.
The sixth thing is to find A TEACHER WHO’S UNAFRAID TO DEAL WITH SITUATIONS INVOLVING MULTIPLE ATTACKERS. Criminals don’t care if the scene is one-on-one or three-on-one. In fact, they prefer the three-on-one scene. After all, they’re out for one thing and one thing only: to win.
And, finally, the TRAINING MUST INCLUDE SITUATIONS WHICH INCLUDE KNIVES, GUNS, AND ANYTHING ELSE THAT CAN BE USED AS A WEAPON.
When my life is on the line, I want to be able to deal with the situation. This is not the movies. This is not a competition. It doesn’t matter what my fancy footwork looks like when I successfully stop a mugger or rapist and come out alive. I feel that I need to find methods that look like those used on the news – not on TV fiction.
The best teacher/trainer for self defense is not the guy who talks a lot and brags about things he’s done. The “real deal” is a trainer who is going to be quiet and get you ready to save your own life. The “real deal” is going to teach me to be comfortable in violent encounters where my life may be threatened.
In other words, he’s going to teach me to drive a car and walk in high heels.
We all need protection, safety, and self defense.
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