Thursday, March 4, 2010

Defend Yourself!

Self-defense. It sounds kind of ominous. But why wouldn’t we want to know how to defend ourselves? Theresa, our instructor, wasn't surprised. She said that a lot of people are scared off by the words “self-defense”.

If you are one of those folks, let me tell you that articulating your biggest fears and then finding out how to handle them if they happen is the most empowering experience that one can have. It was amazing to find out how little strength it takes to out-maneuver and even (yes!) debilitate a man twice my size. To tell the truth, it felt pretty good! I don’t want to be afraid. Do you?

If someone is creep, a jerk, a perpetrator, or a predator…they’re looking for a victim. Hell, I don’t want to be a victim. I want to know how to take care of myself. While many of us spend a boatload of time trying to figure out how to take care of ourselves financially, very few of us have spent even a few minutes considering how to protect ourselves physically.

Statistics say that one in six women will be sexually assaulted during their lifetime. College aged women are 4 times more likely to be sexually assaulted. In fact, according to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, every 2 minutes someone in this country is sexually assaulted. Perhaps, most disturbing is the fact that 35% of women have been in romantic relationships that were verbally and emotionally abusive, and this is the highest indicator of potential eventual physical abuse.

By not learning how to defend ourselves, we are really putting our heads in the sand. It’s like not buying insurance, not wearing a seatbelt, not getting a flu shot, not exercising, not quitting smoking, not using condoms, not using birth control, not saving, not protecting our social security numbers, not locking our doors etc etc.

Although we invited over 600 women to a self-defense class last week, only one person (besides Lise, Meghan, our videographer, and me) showed up.

I urge you, whether you are a member of MidChix or not, to learn about defending yourself in the event of an attack. Our inspiring instructor, Theresa Byrne, a third-degree black belt in martial arts, and owner-instructor at United Martial Arts Center provided us with a wealth of information about early warning signs of an abusive relationship, as well as specific techniques for use in the event of a physical assault, as well as verbal self-defense in a situation where the body’s adrenaline response would have us Fight, Flight, or Freeze. Check them out in Ideas on

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be kickin’ someone else, then kicking myself for not being ready…

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