Strategic Living's News & Views
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Do you have any stories to share? I've noticed some outstanding self-defense stories in the news lately.
One was this 12 year old girl who heard a noise downstairs, went to investigate, and came face to face with a hooded intruder. Not only does she kick him in the crotch, after he runs she draws a sketch to make it easier for police to find the guy. Read the story at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1299920/Home-girl-foils-burglar-groin-kick-draws-police-picture-him.html.
Then there's the 13 year old girl who fought off a guy with a knife! Read her story at http://www.thegrio.com/news/13-year-old-girl-fights-off-knife-wielding-attacker.php.
And a third happened here in Seattle, when a woman jogging in Seward Park fought off an assailant. Read her story at http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2013154472_attack14m.html. Many students in my recent classes read about this attack, and took to this woman's mantra of "not me, not here, not now" to heart.
Not me, not here, not now. The power of the story.
Over twenty years ago women were dismayed to see virtually no self-defense success stories in the news. They reached out to the community -- posters, ad in papers and on campuses, word of mouth -- and were rewarded with an overwhelming abundance of first-hand reports of successful self-defense. The results became Her Wits About Her: Self-Defense Success Stories by Women, edited by Denise Caignon and Gail Groves, and is a classic in self-defense studies.
An article in the current issue of the academic journal Violence Against Women explores the power of the successful self-defense story. Author Jill Cermele notes these critical benefits of telling women's self-defense stories.
- First, they are real examples of real women successfully defending themselves. When more of us know what other women have done successfully, we are more inclined to use resistance.
- Second, by telling successful resistance as an event that happened, rather than a non-event, we recognize that women have positively acted and DONE SOMETHING POWERFUL.
[from Telling Our Stories: The Importance of Women's Narratives of Resistance, by Jill Cermele. Violence Against Women, 16(10): 1162-72, 2010, http://vaw.sagepub.com/content/16/10/1162.
Please share! Links to items in the news, or unreported stories from your life (or your friends'/family's lives) are all great. Unless otherwise stated, your contribution will remain anonymous. I've been posting stories I find, or that others have found, on my Facebook page. If you come across any stories, please email them to me or post to my FB page. I can assure you that other self-defense instructors will re-share them. The more the word gets out, the safer we and our communities will become.
Lessons from The Cat, Part 1
"Awareness" is a key component of self-defense, yet as a practice it is ill-defined. For many of my students, the line between color-coded anxiety and recognition of real risks is blurry at best. This is exacerbated by our media environment (where violence sells anxiety, and anxiety sells airtime, and airtime sells . . . ).
Examples from my feline friends proffer useful guidance.
Know where you are vulnerable.
For example, I often shlep lots of stuff to my car. Hey, I teach self-defense classes, so I'm hauling kicking shields and handouts and mats and other bulky, unwieldy stuff. This is a vulnerable point for 2 reasons. One, my arms are usually full. Second, and more importantly, my mind is already occupied with how the heck I'm going to fit all this junk in my car (I can always drop stuff to free my hands, but it is takes more effort to drop stuff out of my head when surprised).
Enter Sokol, my cat. She HATES surprises. (To be fair, any surprise to a cat is unpleasant.)
|Sokol, ever watchful, at repose.|
Sokol (also known as "stealth kitty") was brought into our home as a 14 month old feral. While she's adapted well to life as an indoor kitty, even after 7 years she hasn't lost her feral edge. She does not like being picked up or even petted (until she solicits attention). Lap cat? No way! Ever at rest, she's also alert to any and all new sounds. If I enter the room, she'll keep an eye on me until she's convinced that I'm not about to try to (gasp!) pick her up. If I'm in the room she wants to nap in, she'll keep an eye on me as she settles in.
She understands when she is more susceptible to unwarranted attention.
The key here is awareness at key points. Going back to loading my car, I know I have to leave Point A (my house, or the building where the class is held) and approach my car. I make it a point as I am leaving the building to scan the area. I'm looking for anyone who is paying attention to my activities. I get to my car. Before I unlock my car and open the trunk, I again scan the area. And if it takes more than a second or so to rearrange my baggage, I pause to scan again. And, if necessary, again.
I have to say I've yet to encounter a scary person. However, I have encountered the first spring blooms on the wild roses, the emergence of the fall crocuses, and a hummingbird almost within arms' reach. These little happenstances round out life, and are constant reminders on why you want to stay safe. To be able to enjoy daily special moments, sans the trauma of a distressing surprise.
End of 2010:
Self-Defense Seminar at Road Runner Sports: December 7, 6:30 - 8:00 pm at 7020 Woodlawn Ave NE. Seminar is open to the public (focus will be on safety while running) and free, but registration is required and space is limited! Contact Chloe
Spaith via email
or phone 206-517-5100.
Self-Defense One-Day Seminar: If you only have an afternoon to spare, spend it here. You will learn the most critical elements for successful self-defense. Next offered Saturday December 11, 1:00 - 6:00 pm. Visit the Strategic Living website for more info, or register online here.
Winter 2011 Classes:
Self-Defense 101: A five week course that builds progressive skill and prepares you for life's unexpected (and unwanted) moments. To register for any of these classes, visit http://www.StrategicLiving.org/schedule101.htm for links to each organization.
Five Saturday afternoons, Jan 29 - Feb 26, 1:30 - 3:30 pm, at Bellevue College's temporary North Campus location.
Five Monday evenings, January 31 - March 7 (no class Feb 21), 7:00 - 8:50 pm, through Seattle Central Community College.
Five Tuesday evenings, Feb 1 - March 8 (no class Feb 22), 6:30 - 8:30 pm, through the UW Women's Center. Register online at the Women's Center website, or phone 206-685-1090.Self-Defense Weekend Workshop: This class is for women who want more than a one-evening seminar yet do not have the time to take a multi-week course. You will practice easy-to-learn and powerful physical skills: releases from grabs and chokes, strikes to critical targets, basic ground fighting and using your voice with impact. More importantly, you'll learn the signs that tell you that you may need to use those skills. Most importantly, you'll learn to recognize the signs that will let you defuse, de-escalate or evade before an assault ever happens. Next offered: March 11-13 through the ASUW Experimental College, registration will open in January. Visit http://www.StrategicLiving.org/scheduleWW.htm for up-to-date info.
Stay tuned for One-Day Seminar and For Teen Girls Only classes in February/March/April!
Self-defense skills are like CPR, you should review and practice them annually.
Register for my Refresher Program at http://www.StrategicLiving.org/Refresh.htm
. And if you believe that these skills are crucial for all women, please take advantage of my Referral Program at http://www.StrategicLiving.org/Refer.htm
Do you work with a non-profit or community organization that holds silent
auctions? Ask me to donate a gift certificate for a private 1.5 hour seminar.
Do you work with a non-profit or community organizations whose staff/volunteers/members/clients would benefit from a safety skills seminar? Visit http://www.StrategicLiving.org/donated-class.htm
for information on requesting partly subsidized training sessions.
Melissa W., a Program Manager for Girl Scouting in the School Day, had this to say: "Joanne came to my Girl Scout troop and taught girls important physical skills, but more importantly, she told them to love themselves, be aware of their surroundings, and use their minds. It was a successful approach for any age, and I'm glad to know the girls are more able to keep themselves safe because of Joanne's class."
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