Self-defense Sunday

We didn’t have Ethridge Jiu-Jitsu yesterday, because during class time our teacher Amy was leading a free women’s self-defense workshop, for a group of sorority girls from UNL who had contacted the dojo and requested the class. Sara also helped teach, and Brad, Brian, Joe, and I came in to assist.

The Ethridges have led self-defense seminars before, and this time it was nice to not be in charge or demonstrate anything, and just help out. As a Sheriff’s deputy, Amy has taught these kind of classes to the public many times, but this was the first I’ve seen her in action. She covered more topics than I expected (even knife and baseball bat defense!), but she kept everything very simple. I’m not usually a big fan of one-day self-defense training, because I think you need to repeatedly practice in order to¬†realistically be able to defend yourself in stress situations, but Amy explained that fact to the women, and she emphasized awareness and avoidance first.

While talking about the importance of removing yourself from a dangerous situation as quickly possible, Amy also mentioned the legal side of self-defense, and pointed out that Nebraska is not a stand-your-ground state, so if you do not flee at the first opportunity, and you continue to fight, it is no longer self-defense, and you could be considered the aggressor.

There were an odd number of women, so I ended up being a partner to one of them. She was eager to learn, but it was difficult to get her to even strike the pad I was holding, let alone me, which took me back to the early days of my karate training, when I was just as reluctant to strike anyone as she was. At one point she told me “I don’t want to hurt you!”, and I think that sums up the #1 problem some women have with self-defense. Perhaps because we are supposed to be nurturing caregivers, and we are conditioned by society to be nice, to be polite, so we feel as though it’s wrong to do otherwise, even when we are threatened, or in danger.

I think the sorority sisters had a good time yesterday, and maybe even learned something. If nothing else, I hope they walked out of there with the understanding that they have the right to be “mean” in order to protect themselves, at least until they can get away.

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