Okie dokie...here we go. When I let you guys know I was going to take a self defense class, some of you asked for updates...let you know how it goes...if it does what I hope....
here is their website:
First a reminder.....as I wrote in my last blog, I am not a writer. I mean, I know I put words on paper, or a screen, in some sort of order, sometimes making some sense...but I frequently miss the mark. I write...well...I write this blog...hmmm, why? sometimes I don't know, I read other peoples blogs feeling some sort of connection, I guess I hope that when I write, someone like me knows they aren't alone.
And all the cool kids have blogs...and I wanna be a cool kid.
Let's see...how do I start this? So Sunday was the second class ( each day is 5 hours), on the drive home I BLASTED Barbara Streisand. And Mandy Patinkin.
Yeah. Like 80's Broadway tunes bad. Totally.
There are some basic good things they are going
over. Lots of it is how you come off in
the world things...you know strong energy kinds of things. They also teach some
basic strategies, not just for defense, but how to deescalate verbally as well.
What is odd is they make it very clear that they know that what they are
teaching plays into the stereotype that assaults come from strangers, when
indeed, the majority of assaults are from a person we know. Then we spent the first two days prepping for
stranger danger. In some ways, it
doesn't really matter. So many of the
things they are running us through would be just as useful with a person you
know IF you had the courage to stand up for yourself. I think that is the bulk of what they are
getting at, having people find "voice." If you can yell "NO" for the first time in this group of strangers....This is all important stuff.
I, like most people, have had my fair share of harassment on the street by strangers...well, maybe less than some. I do, after all, sometimes come off as intimidating. My size I guess. While I found lots of the stuff we worked on the first part of class useful..It wasn't as profound for me as it was for others.
That was actually my favorite part...watching the other folks in class.
We were still working on stranger stuff when the guy in the gear:
They move on to verbal combined with a physical grab....not a good moment for me. There was something about having to be toe to toe with this guy that made me (guess) freeze. It got worse on Sunday...They had us do the "they have taken all your weapons away" thing. Which basically means, they surprise you in bed, asleep, and pin your arms. They are going around the group, I am watching this shit....I am starting to use the counting trick I use when I start to panic....I try to watch, see how people scoot, kick, poke eyes etc. As it gets close to me, I think, "ok I can do this." I get on the mat, the trainer gets on top of me, and I am instantly in another room. This is no longer the masked dude who is trying to help me learn something. Everything is dark and all I can do is look away.
I am pretty sure that they know this happens to people. The female trainer gets in my ear and coaches me through what to do.
We go through it twice. The second time was worse. It was too close to what happened. That shit is more deeply in my body than I care to admit. And yeah..I froze. The trainer again had to talk me back into the room and talk me through lifting my arm, looking at him, hitting. I real life; by the time I reacted, it would have been over.
I had really hoped something different would kick in. But it didn't.
I know when I hit these guys they feel it. I am strong when I hit, but the issue is hitting. Well, maybe it isn't. It isn't the stranger I fear, it's the abusive boundary I missed all along the way. I know I thought that perhaps if I rewrote the story, IN MY BODY, that things would feel different. That I would suddenly speak up for myself. But it can't be rewritten, I can't go back and stop what happened. I can't go back and not have a piece of myself taken from me. So there it sits. I put the feelings, the images, the memory in a tiny box and move on.
They make it really clear that by showing us this stuff, this way of defending ourselves, that they are in no way saying we are to blame for anything that may have happened to us before. But it still feels that way. How would I be different if I had only..... and then I know that some of this really doesn't matter. If someone comes in your house and punches you in the head before you even wake up, it doesn't really matter how relaxed you try to stay, or if you can even see straight to watch for your opportunity to strike. And fucking bets off if there is a weapon.
Please understand, I think what they are doing is important. I really do. And I am amazed watching the progress of many of the people in class. I think I was wrong in thinking it could help me move through something. Is it teaching me something valuable? Yes...but I had the wrong expectations for my own growth.
I guess I will decide Saturday morning if I am willing to put my self through this again.
And then I'll write another happy little blog. Which is better than staying silent.
Here is a cat: