Tuesday, April 28, 2009

chick without a gun

During one of her Tai Chi classes at a nearby martial arts school, my mother discovered that they were doing a free female self-defense class. She asked me if I'd like to join her and I said, "Sure. Why not?" (oh, the things I do for blogfodder) We arrived only to find that we were the only ones in the class over the age of 10.

The class had originally been planned for a Girl Scout troop but the school had opened it up to any woman who wanted to attend. So it was just us, the girl scouts and the girl scouts' mothers...who just watched. I found that curious - what a fine example they could have set for their daughters if they had only set aside their self-consciousness and gotten up off that bench. I say this not to be mean but as someone who is somewhat self-conscious herself...I am hardly the girl to dance on tabletops, no matter how drunk I get. I'm not quite a wallflower but I was honestly feeling awkward about yelling and hitting things.

I tend to overthink things like this, and realized I was being ridiculous - I was worried about a bunch of 10 year olds thinking I looked silly! I decided to tell my brain to shut up and whaddya know? It ended up being a lot of fun and I learned something in the process. I didn't hold back, hitting as best I could and one of the instructors said, "Wow, you're dangerous." So there you go - proof that you never know what you can do unless you try.

There was a talk after all the hitting, blocking, kicking and yelling. (by the way, watching my mother shout, do a palm strike and break a practice board was quite possibly one of the coolest things ever.) The instructor spoke mostly to the little girls, teaching them about situational awareness and how to project a non-victim image to the world. She told a story about how there are three types of people in the world: lambs, lions and wolves. (sound familiar?) It was slightly different than the tale we gunnies know but the girls understood nonetheless - the bad guys want a victim, so don't act like one.

I watched their faces as they realized that they had the power to do this - to fight when needed, to resist when necessary, and to survive at all costs. Years from now, with daughters of their own, they'll be able to get up off that bench.

15 comments:

Fran said...

Usually I just lurk, but my experience with Girl Scouts gives me some mixed thoughts on the subject of their moms.

On one hand, the program was opened to any woman who wanted to attend and that tells me that they should have participated to give the girls examples of strong women.

On the other hand, a lot of the Girl Scout programs are about the GIRLS getting a chance to try things, not the moms. And there may be other things at work there too -- troop politics, the moms who were there were not the moms who came up with the idea, 1 or more of the mom's wishing they were participating but "since the others aren't, I guess I won't either"

but at any rate, I'm glad to hear that the girls got a chance to participate, sounds like they got a great message, and I'm glad that they could see that even though their moms weren't participating, there were other women who were, so maybe they get the message that they don't have to stop standing up for themselves, even when they are "grown up"

Breda said...

"troop politics" - yikes. Women can be our own worst enemies sometimes.

Anonymous said...

This is very, very cool. We've come such a long way in teaching girls concrete ways to protect themselves against being victims. I agree, it would have been great if the moms had gotten up and participated, but at least there were moms THERE. It's so important in a girl's life to have strong women to emulate (and strong men who respect those strong women!)

Tam said...

It sounds like you had fun! :)

Anonymous said...

one of the instructors said, "Wow, you're dangerous."
He has NO idea!
Birdman

Lorimor said...

Never do your enemy a small harm.

Hit 'em like you mean it! :)

Anonymous said...

You didn’t tell them normally you put a .45 round center mass to stop those attackers?

Robert said...

This is the kind of post that makes this blog a must-read.

farmist said...

Thank YOU for giving those young(er) ladies a fine example!

B Smith said...

Let me add my congratulations and thanks. I think there needs to be more of this sort of thing, and not just for Girl Scouts/ women. Since the hoplophobes and uber-nannies still insist on there being places we must remain unarmed and vulnerable, it would be a Very Good Thing if people in general, and young'uns especially, learned how to fight back even when they are under-armed or at a size/ weight/ height disadvantage---i.e., not so vulnerable as one might think.

James R. Rummel said...

I agree with Fran. It sounds like the girls got a good message.

James

kaveman said...

Damn, now I'm gonna have to think twice about sweeping the girl scouts aside with a round-house kick in order to steal their thin-mint cookies.

HankH said...

Good job, I'm proud of ya Breda....
I've been talking about this stuff for a long time to my 14 year daughter as well as my wife. Just remember, if the **** ever goes down, 'fight like the 3rd monkey trying to get on the ark'

HankH

Earl said...

What I liked best about martial arts was that the human was tuned and refined, weapons could be added later. I also liked my wife was awesome with her flying jump kicks and things I would never be light enough to do correctly.

Holly said...

"the human was tuned and refined, weapons could be added later"

Well put, Earl. That's been my experience, as well--after a few years in martial arts I fully realized my limitations as a smallish female and that pushed me toward getting my CCL.

Kudos to the Girl Scout leader who organized that outing, and kudos to you, Breda, and your mom for getting in on the action.

(PS--I get that reaction from guys a lot, too: "Wow, you're dangerous" which just underscores for me how rare it is to see a woman be physically assertive.)