Having taught woman’s self-defense classes now and again over the last twenty five years, I have tried to convey that there is no magic technique for success. That when the attacker chooses you as their prey they are confident they can get what they want.
Several days ago a 55 year old woman in the Seattle area was viciously beaten by a potential rapist on her evening run. He knocked her down, brandished a knife and beating breaking her nose and fracturing her face. This indomitable woman did not use any special tactics that she learned in a woman’s self-defense class. There was no well placed gouge in the eyes or keys used. She used her will to not be raped, to not die, she yelled out, “Not me, not here!” and fought back.
Now there is an opportunity for a lot of second guessing. Sure there is merit in the discussion of these issues but none of that is my point. The point is that her desire…her guts are what trumps any defensive tactic class she could have taken.
All I can say is, that is a gutsy, gutsy woman and well done. Well done on fighting off an attacker. Well done in getting a extensive description of her attacker for the police.
Thank you for the example that the will, the will to fight, to declare “Not me, not here!” is the deepest rooted part of any self defense.
From me and all that followers of this blog, a wish for a swift recovery, and lots of support from family and friends.
If you are interested in more information I have attached a link from Seattle Times staff reporter Sara Jean Green, where I first read about this attack.
Image via Wikipedia
Pat Parker here from Mokuren Dojo.
Kris has graciously agreed to let me guest post on this fabulous blog and look at the crazy article I sent him! This is the latest in a series of posts on what I’m calling “Psy-ki-do;” A set of psychological (or psychobabble) ideas on the combative arts. You can see the previous posts here on Dojo Rat’s blog and here on Marks’ Blog.
Today I wanted to start by suggesting it as axiomatic that if your martial art features lots of super-effective, throat-punching, neck-wrenching, arm-mangling, face-smashing techniques as your first-line response to violence, then you might be setting yourself up for some legal issues if you ever have to use your martial art to defend yourself. I’ve mentioned this idea before in a post about a great lecture that I heard Nimr Hassan give.
Sure, I’ve heard that old adage, “I’d rather be tried by twelve than carried by six,” but I submit to you that if there is anyone in the world that can make you wish you were dead, it’s probably a lawyer! Today’s Psy-ki-do hint is intended to get you thinking about how you can learn to defend yourself against yourself.
Aikido has an advantage in this realm of self-defense. Though the techniques of aikido have the potential to break and cripple and destroy, that is not their first mode-of-use. The aikido ideal is to avoid the aggression, control the aggressor if you have to, and only injure or destroy only if the aggressor forces the issue through imprudent action. This ideal is often put into practice by evasion and simple pushes – gross motor skills that are generally thought to be easier to learn and remember under stress anyway. See, it is much easier to justify something like this:
“Yeah, this crazy guy jumped at me and I was scared to death so I got out of his way and pushed him off of me. I think he tripped and fell down when I pushed him.”
… than this…
“Yeah, the guy swung a roundhouse punch at me, so I slipped it and gave him a swift hook to the ribs, bending him over and setting him up for this great neck crank my instructor showed me! Worked like a charm. Bastard really had it coming!”
And here’s the cool Psy-ki-do trick: Not only is evasion and pushing effective and probably easier to defend legally, but if you train yourself to start shouting something like, “Hey! Stop! Don’t hurt me! Help! Get off me!” as you start your evasion and pushing techniques, then you are sending a message to any by-standers that you are clearly the defender and not the aggressor. If you are shouting this sort of thing as you are running away and pushing the attacker off of you then it will be very hard for any witnesses to identify what you are doing as a definite martial arts technique designed to cripple or kill – even if the bad guy does happen to fall and break himself when you push him off of you.
So, two take-away points:
• Consider how you can use these two gross motor patterns (walk and push) effectively in all of your self defense techniques.
• Practice shouting for help as a way of preparing any witnesses to testify in your favor.