Self-defense class today was great. Blogging about it will help me learn it, so that’s what I’m going to do.
I was feeling a bit shakey, unnerved by the exercise drills. We had two of them. We learned that you have, on average, 1.6 minutes to get away if someone tries to pull you into a van or a car and abduct you. So it’s crucial to learn to break free. I had taken one other quick (9 hour) class in 2007. Then, I learned to drop to the ground and kick– because most of our power as women is in our legs. In this class, I’m learning another method of breaking free.
We had to get our wrist out of the instructor’s grasp, while shouting, “No!” The instructor is a big man.
At first I had wished the instructor was a woman– I thought that might’ve felt more empowering. But now I’m glad I chose this class. Because if we get attacked, it’s most likely going to be a man. And if I can learn to fight off someone much larger than me, I’ll be better prepared.
His hands were much bigger than mine, my wrist disappeared into his meaty hands. I had been able to easily break it away with my female partner during the exercises, but this was a reality check.
I began to get scared when after several tries, I couldn’t break away. He didn’t make it easy, which I appreciate. It took me longer than some of the other women– but most of them have already taken the class at least once and also are taller. Finally I focused and did the move correctly– and got away to the designated “safe” area. I was really using my voice. “NO!” I said, and each time, I believed it more.
The second exercise, we had to stand with our back turned. The instructor and a woman who is a class veteran were behind us with padded mats shaped like shields, held out in front of them– one or both would charge us. We had to hit with our fists and say, “NO!” and shove until we broke free and got away. In our last class, he had told us to use windows and our surroundings to see if there was danger lurking. I initially stood in a place where I could use the mirror. He figured this out and told me to move so I couldn’t see him.
I was nervous because I can’t hear very well. But I turned around, and I did it well. In my second week, I’m getting better at using my voice. I noticed other women in the class giggling or not hitting very hard. But I’m taking this very seriously. I’m not going to half-ass it, because I don’t know if I will have another opportunity to take this class.
I was glad that we were graded on the first exercise. I got a “5” for using my voice, but only “2’s” on the others. I approached the classmate who graded us and thanked her for being honest about my progress and not giving me all “5’s”.
She was easy to talk to and said that of course she’d be honest. “You have to earn those,” she said.
I don’t have anyone to practice with right now between classes. But I’m going to make a point to practice at least some of the exercises. Maybe I’ll see about partnering up with someone next week so we can practice together. Today we did jumping jacks, squats, and a couple of other things.
I want to start working out, to get stronger. For me. I’m getting there.