Got your attention? Good.

I went to a self defense class this weekend. I've wanted to go for ages but, it was never on my priority list so I never went. I try to be aware of my surroundings, and have always thought that if someone messes with me I'm pretty sure I can hold my own. I mean, I'm in shape. I even have muscles! I've taken kickboxing classes and can throw an uppercut. Doesn't all that Tai-bo count for something?  But, when Chelsea King was raped and murdered in my home town, I knew I had no more excuses.

Let me tell you something. In the real world, my attitude, plus the fact that I can curl a 25 pound dumbell with my bicep isn't going to get me out of a chokehold by a 200 pound man. I had a very humbling experience in the class. The instructor, Tracie Arlington, talked to us about elbows, and how as women, we're told that just throwing an elbow around is defense enough. Then Chad, her assistant asked if anyone wanted to try that technique on him. He had no pads on yet and I thought, “Is he serious? I know I can get at least one strike in with an elbow.” In the class of about 25 girls and women no one volunteered. So, I blurt out, “I'll do it!” and met him in the middle of the mat. I mean, c'mon, I'm tough! I'm fiesty! I've got SPIRIT!

I had no idea what was coming (as you really wouldn't, if you were attacked in real life). Chad grabbed me so quickly I have no idea how he got me into a choke hold, but he did. My first thought was how tight he had a hold of my neck, my next thought was the feeling of complete helplessness I had. I threw an elbow to his gut. Nothing. I threw another one. Nothing. I got as much strength as I could muster up and threw a few more. Nothing. At that point, I was exhausted from squirming, being angry and frustrated and from using all my energy to throw feeble elbows.

The point of my story is that learning specific techniques is imperative.  Here are some startling statistics:

  • 83% of rape victims are between the ages of 12 years and 25 years of age.
  • 90% of women assaulted knew their assailant.
  • 25% of college women surveyed are victims of rape or attempted rape.
  • 85% of rapes on campuses are acquaintance/date rapes and most happen in the first three months of college due to Fraternity and Sorority pledging and parties.
  • 90% of all campus rapes involve alcohol.
  • Women who resist are twice as likely to escape injury as others. According to the Women's Self Defense Institute, an analysis of 3,000 actual assaults showed that half of the attackers fled from a woman who was willing to resist! The key, however, is to learn how to effectively resist.
Even though we were in a class setting, where we know essentially we were safe, there is something very real about an actual person sitting on top of you with their hands at your throat, or holding your wrists down. In the back of my mind I thought there was no way I was going to be able to get out of the pinned down position while being choked, but guess what? I did. And now I feel much more confident just out in the world of the “unknown”.
Love yourself. Love your life. I say that all the time. It's part of my job to help and empower people to do this. My blog title even proclaims it. Be proactive about your safety. It doesn't matter where you live, just google, “women's self defense” and find a class in your area. You owe it to yourself, your family and your confidence. Do it now and let me know that you did it.
Statistics from the Play it Safe website.