I lived many years of my life working or living around Sydney’s infamous Kings Cross. I saw loads of crazy shit, including a couple of dead bodies, and one time someone followed me for about 500 metres in the wee hours of dawn as I was leaving my work in a nightclub. I zigged and zagged through some back streets and I either lost them or they lost interest as they were more likely a pissed hopeful than a true predator.
Aside from that, I always felt fairly safe.
Since moving to the ‘burbs I’ve had two incidences of sexual assault, and just yesterday I experience the very unwanted advances of a dude who tried to kiss me and grabbed my butt in a fairly public place.
Someone I know.
A shop owner I see regularly.
I shrugged it off, as I did my sexual assaults assuming that I had misunderstood what was going on….. because I’m an idiot. (Note : I did go to the police over the more serious of the two sexual assault incidences.)
Anyway, quite fortuitously I met a dude who happens to be a fairly lethal weapon just by chance the other day, and when I asked if he’d give me some boxing pointers I did not expect the full gamut of self defence training that I received this week. I’ve been an avid boxer for the last few months. If I can’t make a class I’ll just take my gloves to the gym and beat the shit out of the bag. Not only does it give me an awesome sweat, and sculpted guns, but helps to ease the cacophony in my brain.
Of which there is much.
Spending an hour and a half with him has made me realise that dudes that intimidate you are not out to cop of feel of you, they’re out to make you feel powerless because that’s how they get their kicks.
Your greatest defence is simply the word NO. Said loudly, with the ‘STOP!’ palm in front of you, and staring them straight in the eye.
I struggle with this word in these situations because I always believe the person misunderstanding the situation is me. That I’ve done something, and I also want everyone to be my friend.
Freud would have a field day no?
Anyhoo, I learned that on a train you never sit by the window (much less slump or slouch on it reading Facebook on your phone – ooops). Aisle is much safer. Particularly right hand side, facing forward aisle seat. Most people are right handed and this puts a potential attacker at a disadvantage.
I learned that doing that thing toddlers do when they do the jelly body and you can’t pick them up is perfect if someone is trying to grab you. When you tense you become all angles and easy to hold, when you do jelly body you’re slippery. Your primary concern in self defence, is not to fight, it’s to get away safely.
We did imaginary knife attacks from the front and behind, and hair grabbing. I learned 500 ways to get my attacker to open up their body so I can kick them, punch them or bite them in the knackers (I made the biting bit up. Maybe we’ll cover that next week).
Imaginary scenarios of me sweeping my floor and a crazed ice addict bursts into my house, or someone trying to glass me in a pub saw me getting my focus on and whisking myself out of harm’s way with a flick of a hip and showing them I mean business with a swing of my broom.
I asked the question if I would remember any of it if push came to hair pulling attacker shoving me from behind and the answer was practice.
When you first learned to drive a car you thought about every gear change, every touch of the pedal, but over time it becomes second nature, so it appears that self defence is best when you do it more than once.
I’m actually going to train with this guy once a week for a while. I want to feel empowered, confident and actually have the ability to defend myself or my kids should we ever find ourselves in a Zombie apocalypse. Apparently, my broom handle would come in very handy then too.
Have you ever wished you had some self defence skills? Would you consider a class?
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