Week Three of Self-Defense

I’m beginning to trust these women and let my guard down.

I’m discovering that even to LEARN to fight– you need to trust your partner. That they are going to do things the safe way, and that they are giving you permission to try the moves and work on them until you get it.

You’re invading each other’s personal space– but you’ve agreed to it. And this time, in the beginning of class I asked a different woman if she wanted to work together. She agreed. Another woman worked with us too, so we were a trio. The woman I had worked with last week wasn’t there, so I think the numbers were off.

And we all were a little nervous. But they had taken the class before– and I was glad. They were kind. They showed me what I was doing wrong, and they asked me to do it again until I got it. Somehow, the three of us worked well together. We were all short, so it was easier to work together.

There was one move I just couldn’t seem to get– I was over-thinking, rather than doing the simple move we had been taught. I noticed I felt guilt about possibly hurting my partners. I was also worried I wasn’t strong enough– I kept putting myself down for messing up.

“My arms are too weak,” I said. I was thinking what it would be like for real– with a big, violent man.

My partner smiled and said, “You arms are strong,” and I believed her.

That kindness made all the difference. I could do the move!

I stopped judging myself. The instructor also stepped in several times to show me what I could do better– but not unkindly. And I was able to do the move. No one was harsh with me for not getting it right away.

I’m realizing how vital it is to have this safe space with other women– how that solidarity helps so much.

We’re all there for the same reason: to learn to protect ourselves. But we’re also helping protect each other.

Unconsciously perhaps, until now I’ve felt competitive with my classmates. But it’s not a competition. I had felt intimidated because I’m the newest person and most of these women have taken the class several times. Also, it seems several of them work out at a gym. I felt like the runt of the class. Today I found out, it seems no one else sees me that way.

And at the end of class, our instructor told us to read the workbook for Wednesday. I was happy to volunteer that I knew that already– the three types of predators. I listed them. He was impressed, as were my classmates. I felt proud of myself for speaking up. Not like I was showing off, but just volunteering information.

Before class, I had reviewed the workbook in my car, circling and highlighting. It’s sinking in.

I’m so glad I gave myself permission to take this class.


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