I have many fears. I have big, overpowering fears about losing my children or my husband. I have everyday fears that are more like concerns. Concern about our finances; concern about making healthy meal choices for the kids; concern for our general health. And, I have silly fears. Worry that if I chose to wear my boots with my slacks, will I fall yet again at work. Worry that my child will pop the balloon they receive at a restaurant (yes, I fear balloons...laugh if you must. I am not afraid to jump out of a plane though. Silly, I know).
Through all my fears, one is consistently in the forefront of my mind. I am terrified of being attacked from behind. I have no reason to have this fear. I have never been attacked from any direction. I have never even being in a physical fight. But, this fear sticks with me. I even implored my husband when we were dating to never sneak up behind me. He has never intentionally done so but he has caught me off-guard a number of times. My response is to jump and shriek and then laugh nervously while my blood pressure returns to normal.
My fear of being attacked has served me well. I look people directly in the eyes if I pass someone while on a run or walking up to the ATM. I walk with my head up and soak in details around me. I try in earnest not to put myself in foolish situations. I am cautious but unprepared for what might happen should a predator ignore my show of confidence and attack. Actually, I was unprepared until last week. I was attacked. Thankfully, it was by a man in a padded suit in a self-defense seminar but the feelings I felt when his arms grabbed me couldn't have been more real.
My son's karate instructor, Master Dave Johnson, hosted a day-long self-defense course this past weekend. I attended because of this being attacked fear I haul around with me everywhere I go. I was thinking it would be a lot of, "if this happens...do this." I was completely wrong. We learned that there is no standard way to defend yourself based on the situation. Every situation is unique. Every situation has its own variables. You have to be able to draw on your knowledge and chose in an instant the skills that will serve you best in your given predicament.
As we went through the punches, and kicks, and jabs we began to see how combinations of moves could help defend us from an attacker even if it is just enough to get away and run. It was not textbook self-defense. It was real life self-defense.
At the end of the day, every student was "attacked" five times. Even though it was expected, the adrenaline was real. Before my first attack, I was shaking. It is like waiting for a very important test score. Like waiting for some impending evil to happen. I was going to see if I could apply what I learned in a three to five second attack. My first attack involved a lot of slapping and struggling on my part. By my fourth attack, I had my screaming in and was liberally issuing heel palm punches and thrust kicks. By my fifth attack, I had the guy over my shoulder and on the floor in front of me. I felt utter shock at the sight of him at my feet. And, I felt empowered.
I hope that I never have to use my newly found skills. I also know that I need to continue polishing them and refining them so that I will be able to call upon them in a moments notice. I am going to take Master Johnson's class again without hesitation. I encourage all my friends to take his class or a similar one. There is no price-tag to steep for your life. I would pay all that I had to keep my friends and family safe. We live in such an uncertain world I figure a few basic self-defense skills will help keep me safe, or at least give me a better chance of escaping an unpleasant situation.
Remember, don't sneak up behind me. It really freaks me out. And, now, you might just end up on the ground in front of me!