Defending Yourself

Published April 10, 2013 by jrm17

Okay, so I’m a small person.  I’m 5’2″ and if I haven’t eaten horribly, about 105 pounds.  (It’s a little more after I go on a mac and cheese binge.)  I’m fairly strong for my size, though.  But I decided to take self-defense this semester because I finally had a free credit and why am I not going to take a class where I get to beat up on people?  We only have about a few weeks left, and I’ve learned a lot from it.  I think everybody–not just women–should take a self-defense class.  It really shows you your weaknesses.

We’ve learned defenses for a lot of different situation, but as weird as it sounds, my favorite techniques were floor and wall ones.  Ahem, meaning those are the ones for when you are being raped.  According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, a rape happens every 152 seconds.  So almost every two and a half minutes someone is being raped, and each year 300,000 women are raped.  What if one of those times it happened to be me the person is raping?  Well, I feel like I have a decent chance of getting out of that situation now.  I would have thought so before the class, but I probably would have been wrong.  There’s one guy in the class I’m friends with, Eric.  He’s a big, strong, in shape dude.  I always have him attack me because I assume someone his size will be attacking me or if they are smaller, then I’ll be overly ready.  Although, the one time he did a rape attack, I would have died.  He threw me to the mat, and when he landed on top of me, as much as I fought to move, I just could not under his weight.  Don’t worry.  We’re still friends.  I wouldn’t abandon someone who shared his PopChips with me.

Now, you might think it’s weird hearing a guy is in this class, but there’s actually four.  It’s not like guys don’t get attacked.  The Uniform Crime Report from the FBI says that 0 men are raped each year, but the number is actually 93,000 according to the Department of Justice.  Plus, it’s not like we only do rape stuff.  We’ve done assaults and gang violence, too.

Yesterday, we formed gangs and attacked one person at a time.  It’s an interesting situation when you have that many people coming at you instead of your normal partner.  I felt like I lost all my self-defense knowledge at first, but then when they started coming at me, I diffused the situation–because no one person is going to survive fighting a gang–and made it away safely.  You learn a lot about yourself when you are put in these situation even if you are being attacked by friends.

We were pretty much all strangers on the first day of class, but now we are all friends because we have this class together.  That doesn’t happen with every class.  In fact, with normal classes, you rarely get that kind of camaraderie.  But when you attack a person, you bond.  Once the attack is over, you go right back to being friends.

My partner for assaults is usually Shannon.  She’s about 6 inches taller than me, but not much heavier.  We goof around all the time when we are finished our attacks or are waiting in line, but when that attack comes, you’d never guess we are friends.  Both of us have punched, kicked, and hurt each other.  There was one class where I truly thought she fractured my elbow.  (Luckily, a few days rest and it was good.)  We get really aggressive, which benefits both of us in class and in the real world.  Although, sometimes I think our professors just like watching us almost hurt each other.  They like to laugh at us but appreciate us giving it everything.  After we finish assaulting or kidnapping or whatever to each other, we hug and laugh.  She kept her promise that she wouldn’t give me a black eye prior to interviews, and I haven’t punched her to the point where she bruises so we’re good.

Our class is really very lucky with the professors we have.  They are a husband and wife who own a martial arts studio.  He’s a Vietnam vet and ex-police officer, and she’s this cute little lady who could knock the crap out of almost anyone.  At the school, they train all the state (or county.  I forget) police officers on self-defense.  They also teach a survival course.  In the police course, they use fake weapons, which we used a few times during class.  During the survival one, they use real weapon, he said.

When I’m put in one of these situations, I’m not surprised that I get aggressive.  I’m a fairly aggressive person by nature.  I have learned though how to use my size to benefit me and just how freaked out you get when you are put in that place.  Even though I know it’s my friends attacking me, I want them away from me when they start doing whatever we are learning.  Before, I probably would have fought, and against a big dude, I probably would have lost.  Now, I have the weapon of knowledge, and I could probably survive an attack.  I think that’s something most people should know how to do.  Plus, it’s a good way to let some negative emotions out…much better than running for me.

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