In one afternoon we teach Women's Self-Defense in the Santa Monica/Los Angeles areas
In one afternoon we teach Women's Self-Defense in the Santa Monica/Los Angeles areas
National Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NCASA)
Guidelines on Choosing a Women's Self-Defense Course
Ideally, a good self-defense program should reflect these philosophical points in its outlook:
Women do not ask for, cause, invite, or deserve to be assaulted. Women and men sometimes exercise poor judgment about safety behavior, but that does not make them responsible for the attack. Attackers are responsible for their attacks and their use of violence to overpower, control, and abuse another human being.
Whatever a woman's decision in a given self-defense situation, whatever action she does or does not take, she is not at fault. A woman's decision to survive the best way she can must be respected. Self-defense classes should not be used as a judgment against a victim/survivor.
Good self-defense programs do not "tell" an individual what she "should" or "should not" do. A program should offer options, techniques, and a way of analyzing situations. A program may point out what USUALLY works best in MOST situations, but each situation is unique and the final decision rests with the person actually confronted by the situation.
Q: What is Women's Self-Defense?
Self-defense is a set of awareness, assertiveness, verbal confrontation skills, safety strategies, and physical techniques that enable someone to successfully escape, resist, and survive violent attacks. A good self-defense course provides psychological awareness and verbal skills, not just physical training.
Q: Does Self-Defense Work?
Yes. Self-defense training can increase your options and help you prepare responses to slow down, de-escalate, or interrupt an attack. Like any tool, the more you know about it, the more informed you are to make a decision and use it.
Q: Is Self-Defense a Guarantee?
No. There are no guarantees when it comes to self-protection. However, self-defense training can increase your choices and your preparedness.
Q: Is There a Standard Self-Defense Class?
No. There are many formats for training. They may be as short as two hours or as long as 8 weeks or a semester. Whatever the length of the program, it should be based on maximizing options, simple techniques, and respect for women's experience.
Q: Is There a Course I Should Stay Away From?
Only you can answer this question. Find out about the philosophy of the program and the background of the instructor. Observe a class session if you can and talk to an instructor or a student. Is the instructor knowledgeable and respectful of your concerns? Is it a length that you can commit to and at a cost that you can afford? You deserve to have all your questions answered before taking a class.
Q: Who's Better, a Male or Female Instructor?
There is an advantage to having a female instructor as a role model who has similar experiences surviving as a woman. All-woman classes tend to provide an easier atmosphere in which to discuss sensitive issues. On the other hand, some women feel having male partners to practice with can add to their experience. The quality of a class depends on the knowledge, attitude, and philosophy of the instructor, not necessarily on gender. The most important aspect is that the instructor, male or female, conducts the training for the students geared to their individual strengths and abilities. Feeling safe and building trust comes before learning.
Q: Must I Train for Years to Learn to Defend Myself?
No. A basic course can offer enough concepts and skills to help you develop self-protection strategies that you can continue to build upon. Self-defense is not karate or martial arts training. It does not require years of study to perfect. There are women who have successfully improvised and prevented an assault and never have taken a class. Women often practice successful self-defense strategies without knowing it!
Q: If I Used Physical Self-Defense Could I Get Hurt Worse?
The question to answer first is what "hurt worse" means. Rape survivors speak eloquently about emotional hurts lasting long after physical hurts heal. Studies show a physical self-defense response does not increase the level of injury, and sometimes decreases the likelihood. Also, women going along with the attacker have sometimes been brutally injured anyway. The point of using self-defense is to de-escalate a situation and get away as soon as possible. Knowing some physical techniques increases the range of possible self-defense options, but the decision to choose a physical option must remain with the person in the situation.
Q: What Does Realistic Mean?
Words like "most realistic," "best," "guaranteed success," etc. are all advertising gimmicks. Choosing a self-defense class is a serious decision and is preferably based on some research. No program or instructor can replicate a "real" assault since there are so many different scenarios, and because a real attack would require a no-holds-barred fight which would be irresponsible and extremely dangerous to enact. Responsible self-defense training requires control. It is important that each student in a class is able to control her own participation in the class and never feels forced to participate.
Q: What is the Role of Mace or Other Aggressive "Devices" as Self-Defense Aids in Harming an Attacker?
Any device is useless to you unless you understand how to use it, and you have it in your hand ready to use at the time of the attempted assault. There is nothing "guaranteed" about any of these devices. None are foolproof. None of them can be counted on to work against all possible attackers (no matter what the labeling may state to the contrary). Realize that anything you can use against an attacker can also be taken away and used against you. While some of these devices have sometimes helped women to escape to safety, it is important to be aware of their limitations and liabilities.
Q: How Much Should I Pay?
Paying a lot of money for a course does not mean that you automatically get better instruction. On the other hand, don't assume that all programs are the same and just go for the cheapest. It is always beneficial to be an educated consumer. Shop around the same as for anything else you buy that is important to you.
Q: Where Can I Find a Self-Defense Class?
Check with your local rape crisis center. Some centers provide self-protection classes or can refer you to one. YWCAs and Community Colleges sometimes offer classes. Check the phone book. If there isn't one in your community, get involved and try to organize one.
Q: Am I Too Old? Out of Shape? What if I Have Some Disabilities?
You don't have to be an athlete to learn how to defend yourself. A good program is designed to adapt to every age and ability and provides each student with the opportunity to learn. Each individual is unique, and students should be able to discuss their own needs. Some programs have specialized classes for specific groups.
Q: How Can I Tell a "Good" Course From a "Bad" One?
A good course covers critical thinking about self-defense strategies, assertiveness, powerful communication skills, and easy-to-remember physical techniques. The instructor respects and responds to your fears and concerns. Instruction is based on a belief that women can act competently, and decisively, and take action for their own protection. Essentially, a good course is based on intelligence and not muscle. It offers tools for enabling a woman to connect with her own strength and power. These courses are out there. Good luck with your research. Taking a self-defense class is one of the most positive acts a woman can do for herself!
Self-defense for women: be aware and use instincts
By N.F. Mendoza (The Argonaut January 11, 1990 Page 32)
Thinking “It’ll never happen to me” can be a woman’s worst defense against rape and crime. According to crime prevention specialists, being aware and acting instinctively are a woman’s greatest defense.
The National Safety Council has released information indicating that 84,000 women are raped, 500,000 people are robbed and 685,000 people are assaulted.
While self-defense experts differ on recommended styles of defeating crime, most believe that attitude is the important thing.
Lisa Silwa, a spokeswoman for Guardian Angels and wife of its founder Curtis Silwa, says that attitude counts for 90 percent in getting out of or away from a crime.
Silwa encourages women, when attached, to immediately think, “I will not be victimized.” Many near-rape victims have said that positive thinking helped them a great deal.
The various steps in preparing for confrontations may seem obvious, but many women simply prefer to not think about being victimized.
Here is a list of techniques and reminders that various self-defense experts advocate:
· Along with an inner attitude, an outward display of confidence is important. Walk straight and don’t look like an easy target.
· Don’t fight with an attacker unless your life is in danger – just bruising him may incense him further. If you must fight back, aim for vulnerable spots. Effective strategies include a heel stomped down on an instep, fingers in the eyes, or a blow to the crotch.
· If you carry Mace, a stun gun, or a “shrieker” (an aerosol can that emits a deafening scream), have them handy.
· If you must walk at night, know which stores or gas stations are open. Run into one of them in an emergency.
· You are more visible walking near the center of the road than on a dark sidewalk, but be sure to watch out for traffic.
· If someone walks behind you, yell to a nearby house something like, “Hey John, I thought you were meeting me outside.” This may catch potential attackers off-guard.
· Avoid deserted streets and trust your gut reactions and your instincts.
· When you are arriving home, beware of what police call “push-in” robbers, who run up behind a potential victim, push her into her home, go in after her, and shut the door.
· Look around you and have your keys in hand.
· If you live in an apartment building with an elevator and are in the elevator with someone you are uncomfortable with, don’t worry about offending the person. Get off the elevator. “Oh, I forgot my bag” is a convenient excuse, if you’re worried about running into this neighbor at a later date.
· In your home, always deadbolt all doors that lead to the outside. Secure sliding glass doors with rods, and windows with locks.
· Installing a house alarm system is a good idea. Some insurance companies Give discount rates for an especially “secure” household.
· Close draperies and blinds in this evening.
· One crime expert recommends unplugging all phones outside the bedroom because thieves often take phones off the gook, which interrupts service and prevents calls for help.
· You may want to employ a small rubber doorstop wedged on the inside of your bedroom door for extra prevention. Never leave your bedroom to confront an intruder.
· If someone touches you in public, remove his hand and shout loudly. Embarrass him. You don’t have to be antagonistic, but you must be firm. Say “Leave me alone.”
· If you ride a bus, sit near the driver.
· When you are parking your car in a garage or parking lot, be sure the area is well-lit. Park near the entrance to the building or near the guard booth, if there is one.
· When returning to your car, look around you and have your keys ready. If you are trying to balance packages, place the packages in one hand and your keys in the other. Put your packages down and open the car door. Look around you as you load your purchases into the car.
· A great concern of self-defense experts is women who drive alone. If your car breaks down on the road, stay inside the car, lock the doors, and put the hazard lights on. If someone offers help, do not get out of the car and do not get into his car. Ask him to call help for you. Many women have gotten into “tow trucks” or “mechanic trucks” only to be taken to a secluded place and raped.
· Police warn of a new ploy by criminals who pretend to “bump” your car. Once you get out of your car to inspect the damage, the criminals either rob you, steal your car or, even worse, kidnap you.
· Self-defense experts recommend that women who jog should always jog with someone else.
Joggers should never run in a secluded area or a high-crime district. They should never wear jewelry or carry a wallet. The experts recommended carrying only keys and maybe a “shrieker,” and running against traffic so that unwanted interest can be spotted.
· Public awareness that “acquaintance rape” is indeed a crime is fairly new and has become a current media topic.
Women must overcome the misconception that a rapist is not just a stranger lurking in a dark alley. Studies have indicated that 60 to 80 percent of sexual assaults were committed by a casual friend, a co-worker, or a family member.
One self-defense technique, developed in Chicago in 1976, is called Chimera. Chimera is a feminist approach that employs both martial arts and verbal assertiveness. Chimera’s promoters are firm believers in the power of a big “No!”
The name Chimera refers to a mythical female monster associated with illusory fear. Chimera proponents believe that helplessness is a myth.
Chimera differs from other forms of martial arts in addressing the psychological component of violence against women. It teaches that a rapist is motivated by the desire to humiliate his victims, rather than for sexual gratification.
Chimera is a confidence builder and its students are encouraged to be loud and aggressive. They believe an assailant often “checks out” his potential victim to see if she would be an easy target. Chimera believes in surprising the attacker, and the instructors visualize various threatening scenarios.
For example, if a doctor touches you or does something you are not comfortable with, Chimera emphasizes that you should demand a nurse be present or say, “I want to end this exam.”
It is assertiveness training, but it also prepares women to be strong in their own defense.
5 sensible self-defense tips for women returning to college campuses
(Extracted from Aug. 27, 2014, at 5:44 AMEun Kyung Kim at Today.com)
As students flood college campuses across the country, many female undergrads will explore their new surroundings, meet new friends — and may find their personal safety compromised at one point, whether at social events, inside dorm rooms or even just walking home at night from the library.
Colleges are trying to arm students with self-defense strategies, as well as raise their overall awareness about violence and sexual assault.
Personal security consultant Avital Zeisler demonstrated self-defense techniques that all women in all stages of life can easily apply to protect themselves physically, and especially mentally. She said learning those techniques helped her overcome the trauma of a sexual assault.
"It was actually learning self-defense that gave me empowerment and gave me the courage to move forward," said Zeisler.
"I’m redefining self-defense for women, that it's about you attacking life and not letting it attack you," she said. "It's about learning how to create, how to live a life that you love but still know how to protect it."
Zeisler said all women can protect themselves by becoming harder targets, mainly by being more aware of their surroundings.
Here are 5 tips on how to do just that:
1. Increase peripheral vision
Widening your scope of vision will help you recognize suspicious people faster, as well as potential escape routes and what items nearby can be used as weapons, Zeisler said. A drill she often uses with her students to increase peripheral vision is to practice talking with someone while trying to identify what’s nearby without moving their head.
Learn how to defend yourself.
2. Locate the nearest exit
Not all exits are created equal, however. “Just because a sign hangs over a door doesn’t mean it’s a viable exit,” Zeisler said. The door may lead to a stairwell; a confined location she considers dangerous for women. Exits that immediately lead to the ground level or somewhere outdoors are best. If no such path exists, then prepare mentally to “close in and initialize the threat on the spot before you can safely escape.”
3. Improvised weapons
Nearly anything nearby can be turned into an impact weapon, such as a pen sitting in your pocket, or that snow globe on the nightstand. Always have something within arm’s reach that can be grabbed instinctively if confronted.
“It’s not just knowing what’s in your surroundings, but it’s also strategically placing things to make them work for you tactically in a worst-case scenario,” said Zeisler, who recommends holding keys (the longest or hardest, preferably) between your index and middle fingers.
Any weapon used can disrupt an attacker’s thought process and buy a victim time. “Even if we’re talking a few milliseconds, and in self-defense that’s a lot of time,” she said.
4. The power of the purse
The purse makes a “phenomenal” shield, said Zeisler, who carries hers diagonally across her body. Using a purse as a shield will help redirect an attacker’s attention.
“It’s also effective because it frees your legs up if you have to kick someone or do anything to weaken him before you close in on the person,” she said.
5. Stop and pass
If you think someone is following you, stop and let that person pass. Pretend you need to go in a different direction or take a phone call — just make sure you don’t expose your back to the person. Then look at the individual’s reaction, which may help confirm whether he or she is a potential threat.
Above all else, self-defense experts insist, trust your instincts. Lose the fear about coming across as rude and go with your natural intuition, Zeisler said.
If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t, added Scott Berkowitz, president, and founder of Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN).
“If you feel like a situation doesn’t feel quite right, get out of there, or do what you need to do to find a friend,” he said. “Lie about it. Say you have to go to the bathroom or go outside, whatever you need if you’re feeling awkward or feeling pressure.”
Berkowitz said self-defense techniques have increasingly received more attention on school campuses nationwide. Many colleges now offer classes in a system known as Rape Aggression Defense.
“There’s also a lot of attention on prevention messaging, particularly bystander programs,” Berkowitz said, referring to methods that teach students about identifying social situations that could turn dangerous and how to use easy, non-confrontational ways to help remove themselves and their friends from those scenarios.
“It’s more of a mindset, in the same way, that TSA or anybody else talks about, ‘See something, say something,’” he said. “It’s sort of, ‘Here are signs to look out for, and here’s what you can do about it when you see them.'”
SELF DEFENSE TACTICS WOMEN MUST BE AWARE OF
(Extracted from MARCH 21, 2015 GHOST6ROBERT)
People all over the world are learning self-defense. It is difficult to tell when you’ll have to look after yourself from a would-be assailant or be put in a violent situation where you need to protect yourself. The sorts of assaults that women can face can be really dangerous, and the outcome may alter their lives if the encounter is an aggressive assault. Women, for the most part, may have to fight off individuals that are stronger or larger than they are. As a result, you have to consider the various types of attacks that may come your way. This article will check out a few techniques for protecting yourself, specifically helping women to fight assailants and reduce assaults.
It is sensible to prepare yourself as fully as you can and enrolling in a self-defense class could be the best investment you can make against any future attack. In looking for a class, you need to keep in mind that this is for the purpose of defending yourself, so you want to learn a few techniques as soon as possible that could be used in a real situation. What you need to be seeking is an instructor who is skilled in helping women specifically protect themselves. This would be the most ideal choice for a class on self-defense.
You want to make certain you are not caught by surprise. Always be aware of your surroundings, especially the people that are walking nearby. The sense of awareness will definitely keep you safe. An assault by a total stranger is not always easy to foresee but by using your normal sense of intuition, you can sometimes avoid situations by simply acting on your instincts. If you feel that your instincts are leading you to walk away, you need to decide to do so, rather than wait around to see if you were right. Sad to say, strangers are not the only people who might attack you. People that you know may also be possible assailants. In case your inner voice is telling you that you do not want to find yourself alone with a particular man or woman then act to keep yourself safe rather than regretting it later.
Also, it is possible that you’re going to find yourself in a dangerous situation, where your only alternative is to fight back. You are going to always be in a better position to look after yourself from an attacker if you’ve got self-defense lessons under your belt. People who will attack are usually interested in passive people, people who are frozen with fear, and not able to defend themselves. This gives them a sense of control and power. If you shout loudly at a person to stop and generally make a lot of noise, you can make an assailant think twice about going through with their attack. Nonetheless, if it comes to it, you need to do whatever you can to hurt your attacker and this includes striking them in weak areas so that you can escape if possible.
You should be able to protect yourself if you use self-defense lessons, plus your instinct, in these situations. Unfortunately, women will always be the target of assaults, which is why you must learn how to protect yourself appropriately.
9 common-sense safety tips for women who run — and everyone else
By BONNIE MCCARTHY in the Los Angeles Times
SEP 22, 2018 | 6:00 AM
For women, running alone has its risks, but that’s not news to those who do it. A recent Runner’s World survey reported that 43% of women said they experience harassment at least sometimes during a run, and the number increases to 58% for women under 30 — compared with 4% of all men. And the fatal attack on Mollie Tibbetts — an Iowa woman out on her daily run — was an extreme, headline-making example of the danger women can face while out running on their own.
Bethany Mavis, the managing editor for San Diego-based Women’s Running magazine, said women shouldn’t cower in fear of going for a solo run, which can be a great mental health strategy. “Women runners don’t want that taken away from them. A lot of women need that freedom and the clarity that comes from running outside alone.”
Her advice? “You can be careful,” Mavis said, “without being fearful, and you can take certain precautions.”
She encourages everyone — not just runners, not just women — to follow some common-sense safety rules. Here are a few of those rules from Mavis, and from the Road Runners Club of America:
1. Save the headphones for the gym, or in similarly well-populated situations. Headphones can be a distraction, and make us less aware of our surroundings. But if you can’t resist, there are many new headphones on the market that are not worn inside the ear.
2. If you’re running solo, consider choosing a busier route where help is more readily available, over a more isolated scenic one.
3. Let someone know where you’re going, and when you will be back.
4. Consider wearing a device or using an app that can keep track of your whereabouts, and granting someone else the ability to access the information. Mavis likes a GPS-enabled Garmin watch with a live tracking feature. There are many free simple apps, such as Life360, that can let someone keep track of your progress on a solo run.
5. Consider carrying a whistle or alarm, or pepper spray — and learn how to safely use it.
6. The buddy system never hurts. While running solo can be a joy, consider partnering up with a friend or a dog for safety.
7. Carry a fully charged cell phone in case you need to call for help. 8. Run clear of parked cars and bushes. 9. Trust your intuition. Don’t worry about embarrassing yourself, or being polite. Learning to protect yourself.
Learning to protect yourself
Self-defense training teaches students how to detect potential problems in their surroundings, and how to stay calm and deflect and respond to a variety of attack scenarios. While many places charge for their services, you may find that some employers, universities, police departments, city council offices, and other organizations offer free self-defense workshops in your community — scout around online too. Here are just a few of the many places to seek empowerment in Southern California:
Shield Women’s Self-Defense Teaches women how to fight back against a much stronger opponent. Classes are held in Culver City, starting at $325. shieldselfdefense.com
Model Mugging Coaches women through a variety of scenarios, helping them to “turn fear into power.” Workshops are held at venues throughout Southern California. Classes start at $475. modelmugging.org
Conscious Defense Teaching women the confidence they need to be “strategically smarter” than an attacker. Classes are held in the West Los Angeles area. Four-hour workshops at $120, bring a friend for an additional $90. ConsciousDefense.com
My current favorite is the Katana Safety an attached device to your phone, very thin, buy at $99 with a monthly or yearly fee. Live support is 24x7. GPS tracking, friend contacts, silent and audible alarms. (www.KatanaSafety.com)
Run Angel, $99.99 at RunAngel.com, can be activated with a single touch to blast a 120-decibel alarm. ADVERTISEMENT Once triggered, the wristband pairs with Bluetooth to send out emergency alerts and syncs with smartphone apps to transmit the date, time, and location of the wearer. (Miki Barlok)
The lightweight Garmin Forerunner 35 running watch, $170 at Garmin.com, comes equipped with live GPS tracking that allows family or friends to follow your run in real-time — along with a host of health and training features. (Garmin)
Runner Pepper Gel with adjustable hand strap at SabreRed.com. Wearsafe, right, is a Bluetooth-enabled, modern-day, mobile panic button and lifetime service subscription, $150 at Buy.Wearsafe.com. (SabreRed; Wearsafe)