A few weeks ago, Team Casco had the opportunity to take a Self-Defense Class at a local martial arts studio and it was THE COOLEST THING EVER! We learned so much in an action packed hour and a half class. I think everyone learned some valuable tips on how to protect themselves. Plus it was super fun and you left feeling really strong and confident. I’m pretty much a ninja now . . . so watch out . . .
It’s been just about 3 weeks since the class, and though I don’t remember every single technique we learned, there are a few things that stuck with me that I thought I would share with you. Here are the “5 Most Important Lessons I Learned at Self-Defense Class”:
5. Carry One Key at the Ready. That weird thing you’ve seen people do where you put one key in between each set of fingers so it looks like a claw? Yea, that doesn’t really work. It’s hard to get the keys in the right spot, it’s difficult to carry, and you’ll probably hurt your own hand more than you hurt a potential attacker. Instead, Doshu (our teacher) recommends that you get out just the key you are going to need , whether it’s your car key or the key to your front door, and hold it at the ready in between your thumb and first finger. This way, it’s ready to unlock your door ASAP and it’s ready to be used as a tool to defend yourself against an attacker. You can use all of your force to shove that key into the neck or leg of your assailant. One key used correctly and forcefully can be much more effective than a fist-full of keys jammed awkwardly between your fingers.
4. Pay Attention. For me, this might be the hardest tip to follow. I don’t think I’m total space-cadet, but I can be a little oblivious to my surroundings at times. I constantly have headphones in, whether I’m sitting at my desk or walking to my car. And I’m very guilty of talking on or scrolling through my phone while walking somewhere. When I’m traveling from place to place, my attention is rarely on what’s happening around me, which could be very dangerous. I’m so easy to sneak up on it’s not even funny. Not paying attention to what’s happening makes you an easy target; you’re unsuspecting and unaware. Look where you’re going. Put your phone down for a minute. If you see something that you don’t like or makes you nervous, avoid it.
3. Make Direct Eye-Contact. Think someone’s following you? Make direct, sustained eye-contact for a few seconds. Looking a potential predator directly in the eye for a few, continuous seconds with a strong, serious look on your face might be enough to convince them you’re not a good target. Nervous, hesitant glances in their direction show that you’re scared and vulnerable. A strong, fierce stare proves that you’re alert to their movements and you’re ready to defend yourself.
2. Pinching Hurts! For real y’all. We practiced a lot of different self-defense “moves” or techniques for dealing with an attack, but nothing seemed more effective than pinching. During one exercise, I was the lucky demonstrator who got to choke Doshu around the neck while standing in front of him. All he had to do was reach up and pinch the skin of my underarms and I screamed and dropped my hands instantly. It hurt so bad! I even had two little bruises the next day where he got me. Although it didn’t take much strength, it was the most effective move we practiced all day. It just does to show that you don’t have to be big or strong to defend yourself, just smart.
1. Listen to Your Gut. We all have instincts, we just don’t always use them! If something tells you a situation is weird or unsettling, it probably is. If your gut feeling is that you should leave, then do it. Don’t wait for something to wrong because by then it could be too late. Listen to that little voice in your head that tells you you’re in danger. You’re instincts are rarely wrong and, as mom always told you, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Again, this is just a fraction of what I learned during the class. If there are Self-Defense Classes in your area, it’s well worth your time and money to take one. It’s an investment in your safety and piece of mind. I guarantee you will leave feeling more confident and ready for anything.
If you live in the Portland, Maine area check out the Greater Portland School of Jukado. They taught us our Self-Defense Class and they’re awesome.