My Self Defense Class Tussle
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April 20th, 2010 01:37 AM
My Self Defense Class Tussle
I've made it no secret that I take self defense very seriously. Give me an opportunity to learn a way or means to defend myself and I will be happy to volunteer. Even if it's just a review of principles already learned, I am appreciative of the chance to review.
So it should surprise no one that when a two hour self defense class for women was offered to members of our local YMCA for only $15 I eagerly signed up.
Despite banged up knees from overworking them a week ago I hobbled my way to the Y this Monday afternoon and limped to the gym where the class was to be held. Knowing this was a general class for all types and experience levels I was not expecting to have to get very physical and therefore not overly worried about my bruised and aching knees. I figured I would listen, halfheartedly go through any maneuvers and then drag my aching legs out of the class at the end theoretically wiser than when I had entered.
Upon arrival I was introduced to two men dressed in standard karate costume, compete with black belts tied around their waists. One man was bald, reaching his sixties and referred to as "Master." The second man was in his mid-thirties, and comfortable enough as an assistant to be the one upon whom the Master demonstrated his defensive moves.
The class began with some thoughts on self defense, statistics and general rules that I had not only heard long ago but embraced. There was talk of brutality and preparing for pain and the sight of blood and pushing through feelings of fear and shock to act. We were instructed to leave behind feelings of violation upon being hit and act instead of taking the time to worry about being hit. I nodded my agreement and the ten of us gals paired up. We practiced basic standing defensive manipulations that I had already learned from my husband and most of the time I found myself explaining the gestures to my partner and allowing her to practice them on me rather than doing any practicing on her.
Every now and then an instructor would come over and perfect a move or provide criticism or a variation.
We did some striking work and as my darling husband has already expertly instructed me on the proper open-palmed strike I was happy to be the one who drove the instructor and his striking pad back a few extra inches.
At least once the younger instructor showed a variation on me that included an elbow to my chin which consequently caused me to bite my lip producing a bit of blood I swallowed and continued on.
When the other instructor followed up with some knee-kicking instruction by kicking me in the knee, however, I was about to ask to sit the rest of the class out, especially when the former instructor decided to show a second variation by kicking my other knee.
Always ready to withstand any pain to learn, I let my knees buckle slightly, widened into a basic warrior stance and stood hunched but ready for whatever else they might bring.
Finally a girl raised her hand and said, "But what do you do if an attacker gets you to the ground?"
"Ah ha," the Master said, "Which transitions us perfectly to the next segment of our class: ground fighting."
At this point the younger of the two instructors took over and asked for a volunteer. I wanted to volunteer but was not sure how my wounded knees would take ground fighting. When no one raised her hand he picked out a young gal to my left and asked her attack him as he lay on his back on a mat on the floor. He laid down and she inched forward and was already wincing before either of them touched.
The Master was explaining some defensive positions and the younger black-belt was demonstrating them but still the girl just crouched there watching.
"Hit me," the younger instructor instructed.
The girl extended her hand but withdrew it before it came a foot from his face.
"Hit him," the Master said.
She reached out her hand again but this time the young instructor raised his own hand and the girl recoiled so fast you would have thought it was his intention to hit her instead of the other way around.
He sighed and excused her, asking instead for a more confident assailant. Once more I wanted to raise my hand but the tenderness in my joints reasoned with me to keep silent. Again, when no one volunteered he chose a woman of athletic build wearing clothes fit for wrestling and limbering herself up on the sidelines. She had thick, toned muscles and I was sure she could do some damage to any human if she was able to apply herself.
First she was to be the attacker and the instructor was to demonstrate the defensive postures we were to learn.
The mock fight started as more of a grand circling while the woman ran around the mat looking for her opportunity to pounce. When she thought she saw an opening she would lung forward only to stop short and cower back.
"I just want to run and jump," she told the Master and his response was, "Then do it!"
Instead she inched her way in and the younger instructor allowed an opening for her to start feigning that she was hitting him.
"Don't pretend to hit me," he said, "Hit me!"
She attempted a few stronger slaps and seeing that was about as much aggression as he was going to get out of her he demonstrated defending himself against her soft blows and some more defensive instruction was given.
It was then time to switch roles. Instead of being the attacker, this time the woman was to be the intended victim and she was to use what she had just learned against her more powerful aggressor.
The young instructor first wrestled her to the ground rather quickly and was immediately upon her. She was quick to curl into a defensive position protecting her face and head but she squeezed her eyes shut and lay there waiting.
The instructor began to slap her around the arms and head, lightly at first. When she did not respond he began to hit her harder. The more aggressive he became the less she did until the Master screamed, "FIGHT BACK!"
The woman shouted back, "I don't know how! Instruct me."
So as the younger instructor continued to slap at her as the elder instructor talked her through certain maneuvers with her knees and elbows. Try though he may he could not seem to get her to open her eyes.
"You need to keep your eyes open and look for opportunities to strike back," he would say.
"I don't want to hurt him," she said.
"Don't worry about that," came the answer, "just fight!"
When the younger instructor let her up you could see the anger and violation in her eyes. She was getting mad and she was ready to go again.
The instructors asked her if she was okay, she said she was. He asked her if she just had a problem being man-handled and if she wanted to stop and she insisted she was ready to try again.
This time the instructor did not progressively attack. He took her down quickly and immediately started his assault with a new level of aggression, all the while explaining that if he were really out to hurt her or rape her he could have hit her harder here or torn her clothes off there or pinned her in this or that position.
He would often pin her in very undesirable positions such as sitting on her belly or even on her stomach from behind but would ease up when her clenched groans of frustration indicated she was angered at herself for not being able to fight him effectively.
The anger radiated from her face and while she put up a decent fight with her knees and with twists she still kept her eyes tightly closed and finally attempted just to crawl away while voicing through clenched teeth, "I am so pissed off."
You could see the fight in her, the want and the desire to unleash on him but something was holding her back. Whether it was a sense of propriety or fear it was unclear but what was clear was that there was a lot of fight in her that she was simple incapable of unleashing at that time.
I could take it no more. I wanted a crack at him.
"Anyone else want to volunteer?"
I was quick to raise my hand. My knees be damned.
"Hold these," I said, giving the Master my glasses.
I took my hair out of its pony-tail shook out my locks and said, "I'm ready."
After that things went really fast.
The instructor hit me hard and fast and I was on the ground but as he rushed me and before he could get on top of me I threw up a knee and kicked him hard in the thigh spinning him off balance.
"GOOD!" the Master said to my right.
Seeing more fight in me the instructor attacked again, hard, and I covered my head, lashing out with my feet. Whenever he would get above me I would bring up a knee to his groin and lash out with a hammer hit or kick.
Again and again he took after me and again and again I kicked him off all while screaming for help at the top of my lungs.
Within me my fight was boiling and I had every intention of letting it spill out.
He finally got through my defensive and started his slapping. I would watch his hands through my arms cradling my head and every time he drew back to hit me I would lash out with a hammer hit to any vital area I could reach, be it the ribs, chest, face or groin.
I hooked my legs around his as they had taught and tried to roll him but he countered and continued hitting me. When I tried again he had to brace himself against a fall and I took the opportunity to reach up and grab his ear, giving it a hard and vicious twist while kicking like a mad woman.
He yelled and was off me but back again in a matter of milliseconds. I was aware that I was screaming but I can't be held accountable for the words coming out of my mouth. I had found that little switch in my head filled with rage and fight, I'd flipped it and there was no turning it off until this fight was over.
I bit him and again he back off but only to hit me more. Again, watching through defensive arms I looked for opportunities to strike or twist away. Finding one I reached up and grabbed at his throat, but being a seasoned fighter he quickly tucked his chin and moved his face away.
I twisted and curled and for the next few moments we rolled on the mat while I screamed and bucked, kicked, punched, kneed and elbowed my way through his slaps and blows.
The noise around us was little more than a hum or cheers and instructions from the Master I tried to listen to through the adrenalin and desire to just wail on the man hitting me.
Later he would tell me that this was when I bit him in the arm pit and gave him a good twist to his left nipple but I don't remember that.
Finally, an opportunity opened up that all the fight in me had to take. After pinning me to the mat by the upper body he rose just enough to get a better angle and I reached between his legs, grabbed his crotch with all my might and gave a strong and mighty twist. He immediately jumped off and I heard the girls around me whistle and cheer.
There was a, "You go girl!" in there somewhere.
He didn't stay off me for long but this time I was able to regroup and when he came back at me it was at the consequence of getting both of my feet to his legs and abdomen.
He practically laid on top of me and I grabbed a fist full of his hair, clenching my fingers and twisting. I countered by grabbing his chin with my other hand and attempting to twist his head. When he lifted off of me to break my grip I elbowed him in the groin. As he tried to grab me again I clawed my way around his body until I was digging my nails into his thigh
"Whoa! I think that's enough," the Master said and the girls cheered and clapped as we both crawled off the mat gasping.
His shirt was thrown up and rustled, his hair was a mess and his face was flush with heat and sweat. I glared at him until I could calm down and then I smiled. He smiled back.
"Wow," he said. "She's tiny and she was kicking my butt. What can you learn from this?"
"To never give up," one lady said.
Another said, "To keep fighting."
While another said, "Fight dirty." And the room laughed.
I said through a hoarse voice and panting breaths, "To be ruthless."
The Master nodded, "She fought with no rules and there were several times, if he had not been wearing protection, that it's very likely she would have made the perfect debilitating blow that would have allowed her to escape... Remember, from this moment on, there are no rules."
The younger instructor added, "Also, I know it sounds crazy but if you are ground fighting, relax. You are going to be there for a while and you need to calm down, protect your head and look for opportunities to fight back." He looked at me and added, "I could tell that you were just waiting for me to open up and when you saw any opening you fought hard. Good job."
When he asked if anyone had any questions I raised my hand, looked at the younger instructor still catching his breath and said "Did I hurt you?"
He smiled again and said, "Thank God I was wearing a cup or you would have. I think you invented a few moves in there too."
While I understood that he could have whipped me up and down and sideways if he had really wanted to it was enough for me to know that I wore him out and got in a few surprising shots.
I collected my glasses and limped out to the car, my knees battered but proud. I saw the smile on my husband's face broaden as I told him of my ground fight.
As we were pulling out of the parking lot a gal in our class stopped the car and when my husband rolled down the window she said, "You need to be careful with this one. She can fight."
He just smiled and said, "Where do you think she learned most of it from?"
When he asked me why I took my hair out I told him that a pony-tail makes for a perfect and completely controlling hand hold. While loose hair can also be grabbed it's easier to pull your head away and let an attacker rip out just a small handful of hair and get back to the fight than have your whole head controlled with all of your hair.
He smiled. "I'm so proud of you. My kick-butt princess."
April 20th, 2010 01:49 AM
Maybe I'm just in touch with my inner female hormones, but I was grinning throughout your entire, well-written story.
The scary part is that none of the other women in your class would get past the timidity that is deemed socially acceptable these days. I hope you were an inspiration to your classmates.
AZCDL Life Member
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NROI Chief Range Officer
April 20th, 2010 02:42 AM
Most Excellent there Lima! A two hour class eh? I believe it was totally worth the price of admission!
Thanks for sharing your report. It shows, training doesn't have to be expensive or hundreds of hours to be effective!
"The gun is the great equalizer... For it is the gun, that allows the meek to repel the monsters; Whom are bigger, stronger and without conscience, prey on those who without one, would surely perish."
April 20th, 2010 06:29 AM
As another small woman willing to do anything to protect herself and her loved ones, you are a huge inspiration to me. I remember when I first started hanging around these forums, I longed to find a nice long post by you, and I still do. Reading your post today yet again gave me a new perspective on things and has really encouraged me. After being away from shooting for about a year due to some issues in life that came up, I am now back at and I have never felt better. Throughout the years you have really shown me what I want to be. Your words always hold so true and are so well written. I appreciate every post you make.
I have been wanting to take a hand to hand defense class but have never 'gotten around to it'. I will be looking much harder for one now that I have read your experience. Thank you.
Wo die Notwehr aufhört, fängt der Mord an
(Murder begins where self-defense ends)
April 20th, 2010 08:00 AM
You go girl!
As a former Martial Arts practitioner, you describe the real self defense. Karate and other forms with their Kata and mock-punches are ok, but when it all comes down to it, do what is necessary to win. There are no fair fights.
Not to hijack your thread or anything, but this story goes along with what you experienced.
I was part of an instructional team many moons ago, teaching some cops a bit of Aikido, Judo and some grappling. I was showing someone how to twist an arm when they reached out to grab your clothing or your person. This really big cop came out on the mat, grabbed my uniform by the collar and just put a death clamp on it. Bear in mind, I weighed in at oh, 150 lbs and this guy was a good 6 foot three and weighed about 230 lbs at least. The muscles on his arm just rippled as he tightend up and he growled at me, "well Karate boy, what are you going to do about this." I could not break the grip he had on me.
I'm looking around at the others just staring and my instructor watching, I said, "Well, that's easy." Like a bolt of lightning, I took my open right hand palm and popped him on his forehead with an audible "smack." As his head went back in a natural reaction, I stepped a bit to my left, while his grip on me lessend. With my left hand, I reached up behind his head, he had this little rat-tail hair thing hanging from his otherwise short military hair cut. I grabbed it, yanked it and then put my right hand on his chin, twisted his ugly head sideways, pushed him off balance and dropped his huge butt down on the mat. As he hit the floor, I drove my knee into his solar plexus and he let out a groan that I will not forget.
I jumped up, got into my best movie-Karate-posture and he came up off the mat, red-faced and just pi***ed to the max! Suddenly I looked around at all the others. My instructor was laughing, and I said.......
"Here's the lesson. Never underestimate the size of your opponent. You also do not know what that person knows" He got mad and walked out and the rest of the cops learned a valuable lesson.
Last edited by JoJoGunn; April 20th, 2010 at 09:15 AM.
"A Smith & Wesson always beats 4 aces!"
The Man Prayer. "Im a man, I can change, if I have to.....I guess!" ~ Red Green
April 20th, 2010 08:59 AM
Originally Posted by friesepferd
I'm 6'4", 395 lbs, and in my mid-fifties. I want to be like you when I grow up.
April 20th, 2010 08:59 AM
Outstanding! "Fair" fighting is for the ring not the street.
*WARNING - I may or may not know what I am talking about.
April 20th, 2010 09:02 AM
Please take videos next time!!
"Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom" Gen. George Patton
April 20th, 2010 09:20 AM
I did not die today is the important thought here. Thank You Lima.
When you accept mediocrity you sow the seeds for future failure.
One should never confuse good fortune with good training.
Illegitimus Non Carborundum. In God we trust.
April 20th, 2010 09:27 AM
That guy's just lucky she couldn't get an eye gouge in.
THAT'S MY GIRL!
April 20th, 2010 09:46 AM
Way to go Lima, I hope my wife would be as aggressive, she is still in the beginning stages of learning self defense.
"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
April 20th, 2010 09:52 AM
Awesome....Makes me proud to hear that story I can imagine JD. LOL There is no such thing as a fair fight. IN it to WIN it.
Friends don't let friends be MALL NINJAS.
I am just as nice as anyone lets me be and can be just as mean as anyone makes me. - Quoted from Terryger, New member to our forum.
April 20th, 2010 10:05 AM
Lima is tiny. I've seen her in person. She also had it right in 'being ruthless'. When there is a size, skill disparity or you are fighting for your life that is the only way to go. Also, I'm willing to bet her size also worked in her favor. Knowing how to take a perceived disadvantage and turn it into an advantage is an awesome skill to have.
"Just blame Sixto"
I reserve the right to make fun, point and laugh etc.
April 20th, 2010 10:50 AM
Excellent post. What I find humorous though is the good writing style Lima always has to bring her stories to life. You need to write a book chronicling your defensive learning adventures!
April 20th, 2010 10:57 AM
Originally Posted by JD
Seriously, I don't like these type of demo classes. No one can learn much in two hours beyond the concept
of fighting hard and dirty.
It sounds like these two "clowns" were getting some sort of kick out of overdoing doing it with the ground fighting/ rolling on the floor/ sitting on top routine.
So yes, I vote for the eye gouge.
Anyway, great story well told as usual by Ms. Lima.
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