Today I attended a 3-hour Krav Maga self-defense for runners seminar. It was fast-paced, hardcore, and realistic. This is a world class training facility and I am so glad they offered this seminar. The techniques we learned and the knowledge I gained are invaluable. I have become kind of obsessed with learning how to protect myself from an attack ever since the murder of Lauren Bump(and a subsequent attack a few weeks later) on our local running trails. I haven’t run out there alone since that day, and I don’t know if I ever will, but taking self-defense classes is becoming my new hobby. I realized through all this that I was a naive fool before Lauren’s murder. I was completely defenseless and blissfully unaware that bad guys are always lurking. This seminar taught us that we need to be prepared to stand our ground and fight.
There were over 200 women there today, all with the same goal in mind – to gain knowledge and feel empowered. We learned and practiced many techniques to escape realistic scenarios, such as:
- An attacker grabbing you from behind (a “bear hug”)
- An attacker grabbing you from behind and covering your mouth
- An attacker with a knife
- An attacker who takes you down to the ground
We did drills with a partner over and over and the instructor was extremely strict about proper technique. Each pair of partners had realistic weapons. It was disturbing to think through these scenarios, especially knowing Lauren Bump was stabbed to death from behind. But it made for realistic practice.
The finale was almost unbearable. He told us “You don’t have to do this, but if you don’t you’ve wasted your time here.” They had set up a realistic scenario to resemble a dimly lit trail and we were to each run through, one by one, and an “attacker” was waiting behind trees and attacked us with a knife. We had to use our skills to fight them off and escape. Standing in line to do this drill felt like I was waiting to go into a haunted house. I was so nervous. My heart was racing as I ran through, was “attacked,” and fought him off successfully. After going through that scenario, we went into another room where we had to fight off an attack from behind. The trainers were wearing full pads and helmets, came from behind with full force, and we could unleash our fury on them without holding back.
The two self-defense classes I’ve taken so far have been slightly different, but the takeaway message of both has been this:
- Avoid putting yourself in a dangerous situation
- Be aware of your surroundings and put away the distractions
- An attack will be fast; it will be a surprise; and it will be violent
- Nobody thinks it will happen to them (until it does)
- Learn and practice techniques to defend yourself, and hurt your attacker
- Just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean you have to be fearful and weak
Like our instructor said “Ladies, you can kick a man’s ass!” And today we proved it. My fear is subsiding but will never completely disappear – which I think is good. At the same time I’m gaining confidence and skills I never thought I needed. Hopefully I never will.