Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Ladies: Is Protecting Yourself Important?

As women, we are naturally busy taking on more than we should. We get caught up in the stresses of life; work, school, birthdays, holiday parties, the end of yet another year and then taxes creep in on us. It is there, in the busy-ness of life that I find the reason for this article. Many of us know that being still at the end of a long day is because we’re lying down on a couch or in bed sleeping. During the day we walk around with our cell phones attached to our ear and a planner full of things to do lists (I’m so guilty of this). My question to you is this, how many times have you placed self-protection as a priority on your long list of things to do? Have you thought of visiting a martial art school or a university or community center that offer self-protection seminars?

It’s not about the class itself or the style of self-defense/martial arts. It’s about the why.

Many of us work late and walk to our cars in the dark. We go grocery shopping at night. In the rare occasions we get the chance to hang out on a girl’s night out. Our backs are turned away from people when we’re securing our children to a car seat and the list goes on.

As women we should feel confident in that we have a basic understanding of how to defend ourselves when we go out or invite people into our homes and offices. We need to realize that there is a real danger of harm. Too many of us come across real ass____ (please, fill in the blank) that our skin crawls and we begin looking for an immediate exit when confronted with one. Self-defense is not about learning any particular set of forms but partly in learning how to use what you have in front of you as an equalizer. Using your keys, your beverage (hopefully a really hot one), a chair, a pencil, etc. as a tool for a quick escape. We should learn to make use of what is needed when it is needed. To react by moving instead of standing still and being victimized.

I am painfully aware that not many schools, community centers, or local organizations advocate and market their self-protection classes well or consistently. Maybe once or twice a year we will see a flyer for an introductory workshop on women’s self-defense. I have taken some kickboxing and martial arts classes and know that if it weren’t for friends who told me about them I wouldn’t have known or have had an interest in going. Even though I don’t attend classes anymore, I can honestly tell you that I learned not to be afraid because of not having an idea of what to do if I were ever to be confronted in a bad situation. It is due to the value of what I’ve learned that I am a strong advocate in women making it a priority to spend some time out of their busy schedules to acquaint themselves with self-protection skills.

Our self-protection is a priority. We need it and we deserve it! Since most men in our lives don’t encourage us to participate in these types of classes it’s up to us to make the initial inquiry. At the very least, visit a school or community center that offers self-defense, kickboxing or martial arts and try a class. Believe me, it’s a great stress reliever and a good workout. You will learn to follow your intuition. Because if something feels wrong it usually does for a reason. It will be a blessing if you can use some of what you’ve learned in class in an unforeseen real life experience if there ever will be one. Look for programs that are taught at universities or community centers where the cost is minimal if not free. Look for a program where at least one member of the training team is a woman. We have a higher comfort level walking into a generally male dominated class/subject matter when we know that another woman will be there to greet us and be apart of our experience.

To all the guys reading this: If you have a scornful look because I geared this article to women and you feel that I’m being sexist (and I might, just a little), think about the women (daughters, wife, mother, etc.) in your life that you care for and love. Wouldn’t you want the piece of mind of knowing that they can take care of themselves? Admittedly, I have a beef if you will, with you fella’s. There are more and more martial arts, self-defense, MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) classes and seminars offered to you. What’s that all about?

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