Our family motto is “Plan for the worst, hope for the best.”
With that in mind, a few months ago Nate and I took a self defense class at FSI.
The idea of violent assaults is an uncomfortable one. A lot of people think it won’t happen to them, and it’s not really the kind of thing that you want to plan for.
Aside from some kickboxing classes over five years ago, the ability to scream bloody murder, and the knowledge that, when making a fist, you should keep your thumb on the outside, I don’t know much about how to protect myself. Even by avoiding situations that could predispose you to danger, sometimes you simply are in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I was nervous about going to the self defense class. I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t want to feel uncomfortable. What if they made me do some kind of attack simulation? Nate reminded me that I only had to do what I was comfortable with, and he was exactly right. It wasn’t like I was being graded or something.
Spoiler alert: The class was great!
It was taught by three DSS guys with experience in martial arts and self defense, and they kept it light-hearted and low-key while still acknowledging the importance of being able to protect yourself. There was a woman taking the class with her teenage daughter, several younger and older women, and some guys in the class, and no one was singled out unless they wanted to help with a demonstration.
We learned some punches, knee and elbow jabs, and things to do with our hands (poking and clawing at an attacker’s eyes) to debilitate someone long enough to run away as fast as possible. We got to practice on these rubber torso dummies, and it was definitely a useful way to spend an evening.
Since then, I’ve started tagging along with Nate to his Muay Thai classes. I like punching, kicking, kneeing, and elbowing things, and it’s a lot of fun. Although not the ten minutes of plank exercises they make you do at the end. Those are not fun.
Honestly, one of the things I like the most about Muay Thai is what I was most worried about with the self defense class: you are put in uncomfortable situations. But that’s actually a good thing, because then you learn how to get out of them and you don’t just freak out because you’ve never been punched, kicked, pinned or held like that before. It turns out you don’t need a lot of space to be able to knee a dude in the junk.
As Scar said, “Be prepared!“