|This is a gymnasium room very similar to the one in which we took self defense classes.|
|A co-ed self defense class|
When I was in college, I needed a physical education elective each semester, and this could be a challenging thing. Many times, the sport I might consider would coincide with a class which was mandatory for me. One semester, I took a course on self defense, as a physical education elective. Like many of the courses in the physical education division at that time, it was lower credit than the other courses I was taking, and I believed it would be easy for a "great student like me". To this day I recall that this particular class took more from me that semester, than any other class I was taking. The professor had a Ph.D in psychology, and had had a colorful life prior to being a professor, not the least of which included having a third degree black belt in one or more of the martial arts. I still remember some classes where we did calisthenics for the entire class period. I lost eight pounds that semester, even though I didn't need to, and I put on muscles I never had before. When we were all terrified that he might continue what seemed like boot camp, he moved on to psychologic aspects of self defense. Our best tool in staying safe is truly being observant. We need to mentally note the cars, the people, and what comprises normal during our daily activities. Then, we need to be able to notice deviations from this. Then, we need not to talk ourselves out of the idea that the person watching us might be entertaining robbing us, or even abducting us. Once this is done in places we frequent, we need to adapt this thinking to travel and to visits to cities. The class was spellbound as our professor related the number of times, particularly in New York City when he went to university there, he was a victim of an attempted robbery or perhaps even an attempted abduction. His first line of defense is that we should remain physically fit. The importance of the ability to run should never be underestimated. We were encouraged to throw a dummy wallet in one direction and then run in the other. We were also given a primer in Tae Kwon Do, which was also quite helpful. We were also taught to use whatever materials were available to us should we be forced to fight. The course which was to have been simple filler for me that semester became one of the most important courses I have ever taken. The principles I learned that semester have kept me safe in various cities and situations in the US, in Europe and ultimately in both Vladivostok and Moscow in Russia. I taught all of the strategies I learned to our children, and when our children thought someone might be following them, rather than telling them they were mistaken, we considered the idea that they were correct and reported their concern and what they had seen to local police. Our watchfulness prevented the abduction of one of our children when he was a baby, here in the US.
In this post, I have discussed the importance of physical fitness, being observant, tossing the ideas of normalcy bias (He can't be planning to rob me, can he ?), and of taking some type of a self defense course. It's also very important to teach all of these skills, including the filing of a "flight plan" to your children before they go out, so they can keep as safe as possible also. It is also important to consider everywhere you are, which items around you could be used defensively. A metal trashcan lid can be used defensively as well as a weapon. A desk in a college classroom can also be used as a block. Consider what you have around you as you travel through your own life.
Recently, I learned that my former professor is still teaching. He likely has no idea how valuable his class was to me, or to my family, or to students of mine in the present day.
|Even a normal umbrella can be an amazing self defense weapon. This one has some hidden features.|
In additional future posts I will discuss strategies for teaching your children to remain safe and also the possibilities of different types of weaponry.