-Christine Picaut, Arlington VA
I attended the 4 hour Women’s Self Defense training last Saturday. The class was great. The time went by so quickly that it is now difficult for me to tell you how the time was allocated, but I will give you a brief summary of the training I received and my thoughts.
It began with a verbal seminar, discussing things like: intuition-paying attention to the gut feeling that something isn’t right, awareness-pay attention to your surroundings, how to respond prior to a potential threat to possibly avoid a physical altercation. We then went over basic strikes and techniques for how to respond if grabbed from behind. There were 3 trainers and approximately 12 students. For many of the techniques the girls partnered one-on-one and practice the moves while the trainers “floated” around the room observing and assisting to make sure everyone was getting it. Once we practiced with other the girls, they had us line up and practice the move on each of the 3 trainers. Since physical interaction as well as the strike placement will be somewhat different with each “attacker” we practiced the moves at different heights, angles, etc. Also, throughout the physical portion of the training there was a lot of emphasis on the physiology of the attack. For instance, the trainer would have us standing with our back to our partner and the partner would come up from behind as if they were going to choke us. Initially we had to just stand there and take it, focusing on the sounds, sights, and feelings that we experienced prior to and during the course of the attack. We repeated this exercise and at an unknown point a trainer would sneak in and perform the “surprise” choke hold. I actually surprised myself during this exercise. While doing it with my female partner, I did as instructed and just stood there focusing on the sounds, feelings, etc. But when one of the male trainers came up behind me & performed the choke, it felt real and my immediate reaction was to perform the defensive move which I had learned at a previous training with NOVA Self Defense. Although I wasn’t exactly following that day’s instructions it was good to see that when I felt threatened I reacted appropriately. After going through various techniques, the class ended with the trainers putting on their padded suits and “attacking” the students. Each student took a turn with each trainer. The attack began with a verbal confrontation, we had to determine whether we could escape, verbally de-escalate, or would have to become physical. If it became physical the attack didn’t end until the trainer was on the ground and the student was safely out of reach of the attacker.
The training was fun and informative. Of course, when I got home I tried out some of my “skills” on my husband. He was surprised at how easily I could free myself from his grasp. This course doesn’t teach you to try to overpower your opponent, that isn’t realistic in many cases when a woman is up against a man. It does however focus on using your body’s natural responses as a defense mechanism both from recognizing the danger all the way through the physical aspect. I do think the more training a person gets, the better her chances are in surviving a real life situation. I have now attended two seminars as well as a 12 week course. I intend to continue taking at least one seminar a year just to retain the information that I have learned and stay current on any improvements. I also plan to have my daughter Amanda take a course like this as soon as she is old enough.
-Christi Campbell, Amissville, VA