Don't Try This at Home!
by Sensei Charity Warren
Finding Balance in Your
Cool Link of the Month
at the Heiter Community Center • 100 North Fifth Street
• Lewisburg, PA 17837
|February's Feature Article
Don't Try This at Home!
by Sensei Charity Warren (pictured below) *
"Oh, and by the way, my wife tried that choke defense you taught her on me and it didn’t work. Guess you need to do your homework.”
The husband of a recent Women’s Self-Defense seminar participant uttered these words to me with more than apparent satisfaction. My reaction? I was not the least bit surprised; I was, however, greatly dismayed that one of my participants had lost a bit of confidence gained, not because of an inherent flaw in the technique, but because of interpersonal partner-training dynamics.
Of course it didn’t work. Physical self-defense techniques are hard enough to master without the added interpersonal implications of practicing on someone who you don’t particularly wish to harm and isn’t posing a significant threat to your health. This reason alone explains my repeated insistence that a student seek out a specific self-defense class with a supportive environment to practice techniques. In my classes I have a very firm rule: “DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. No student shall practice any self-defense technique with anyone other than a fellow instructor, student, or trained martial artist who understands the dynamics of the particular technique in application.”
The successful execution of a physical self-defense application greatly depends on any number of variables, some of which are wholly beyond the control of the victim. Two factors, however, can greatly enhance, or diminish, the chances for successful execution of a technique: (a) an absolute willingness to harm your opponent and (b) the element of surprise.
Given that women are most likely to be attacked by intimates (current or former husbands, boyfriends, partners), willingness to harm can be a very difficult obstacle to overcome. While contemplating hurting those whom we love can be extremely difficult, even traumatic, these very same people are the ones most likely to cause us harm. At some point we must make a conscious choice that our individual lives are worth defending against anyone. This action requires 100% commitment to the physical and psychological ramifications of a self-defense technique. Lack of this total commitment ensures failure of the defense.
Enter the element of surprise. If an attacker knows in advance what the defense to his/her attack will be, then pre-empting that defense becomes much easier. While the element of surprise is missing from many self-defense classes, your partner in this arena is trained to assume surprise rather than combat what he/she knows is coming.
of the Month
National Girls and Women in Sports Day
On February 4, 2004, thousands of sports educators, coaches, athletic directors, recreation directors, association members, sponsors, students, and parents across the country will show their support of the Day and of this year's theme, "Play Fair". NGWSD is celebrated in all 50 states with community-based events, award ceremonies, and activities honoring the achievements and encouraging participation of girls and women in sports. Whether you are a new participant or a veteran, your support of the Day will go a long way to increase visibility for female athletes and advance their struggle for equality in sports.
NGWSD began in 1987 as a day to remember Olympic volleyball player Flo Hyman for her athletic achievements and her work to assure equality for women's sports. Hyman died of Marfan's Syndrome in 1986 while competing in a volleyball tournament in Japan. Since that time, NGWSD has evolved into a day to acknowledge the past and recognize current sports achievements, the positive influence of sports participation, and the continuing struggle for equality and access for women in sports.
NGWSD is jointly organized by the National Girls and Women in Sport Coalition. The Coalition combines the experience and resources of the five premiere girls- and women-serving organizations in the United States: Girl Scouts of the USA, Girls Incorporated, the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport, the Women's Sports Foundation, and the YWCA of the U.S.A.
Collectively, these organizations have been in existence for over 432 years and have a membership reach of 5.5 million girls and women.
Finding Balance in your Fitness ProgramCongratulations!
Research shows that moderate exercise is as effective as intense workouts for losing weight and improving one's overall health. Those who began a new exercise routine after years of being inactive had similar results whether they chose running or walking briskly, a total weight-loss difference of only 1 1/2 pounds between them after one year. Intensity simply isn't the main factor for an effective fitness program. The key is consistency. Doing something for as little as ten minutes a day can have incredible results.
Unfortunately most women have trouble sticking with a fitness regimen. This is likely because they find the activity too difficult and or strenuous. But by engaging in less strenuous activities and by pacing activities that are enjoyable, they may be more likely to continue. Balance is essential for a successful fitness program; finding an activity that you have fun doing and participating at a moderate pace. This will increase the likelihood for consistency and decrease the chances of burn-out.
For those who enjoy martial arts, or are interested in self-defense, Tae Kwon Do is a great way to get in shape. Martial arts classes can enable students of all fitness levels to work out at their own pace, gradually increasing intensity as they progress. But if you're already in shape, Tae Kwon Do will keep you that way. According to Kicks' student Gaby Diego (shown right, performing a hooking kick), "[Tae Kwon Do] really kicks your butt! Silly me, I thought this would be easier than aerobics!! Now I know better."
It's important to let your instructor know if you have any health problems or injuries before beginning. That way she can help you modify your program in a way that will be both safe and effective. Kicks offers a free trial week of Tae Kwon Do, so there's no excuse for putting off getting fit and learning self-defense any longer. Contact Kicks today to schedule your free trial week.
Kicks Rank Promotions
Welcome new white belts: Alena and Karla... You're on your way!
Congratulations to the Junior Student of the Month -- Martina. Great job! Keep up the hard work...
Martina practices her front kick with Joanna
Also congratulations to Lindsey who earned an Academic Achievers patch. Way to go Lindsey!
Lindsey shows us a back stance
continued from first column...
When working with a spouse, partner or boyfriend, not only is the element of surprise gone, but he/she is not trained to assume surprise and “go with” a technique. In a class, uncooperative partners often find out just exactly how painful a technique can be when executed at ¾ or even full force if necessary, a dynamic that is missing from practicing with “untrained” individuals where “all or nothing” takes over. Add in the fact that many male partners will try to add their own expertise or attempt to prove why a technique will not work and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
For these reasons, practicing any technique, especially one that has yet to be mastered, with an intimate only sets the student up for potentially traumatizing failure. Because she can’t commit 100% to the execution of the application for fear of hurting him, and because he knows not only that a defense to his mock attack is coming, but also exactly what that defense entails, the technique inevitably fails. Practicing with fully trained and trusted partners in a safe, supportive and structured environment ensures that a technique can be practiced at near 100% commitment levels without the fear of harming your opponent. Ultimately, it will save you some unnecessary heartache and frustration as well.
Charity Warren resides in Eugene Oregon where, along with teaching self-defense,
she plays professional football for the Eugene Edge as a wide receiver
/ defensive back. Article reprinted with permission from