Lessons from a Self-Defense Class

Lessons from a Self-Defense Class

Learning how to defend yourself in dangerous situations is important.
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The statistics are disheartening.

Every 109 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted . As you can imagine, the vast majority of these victims are female and it’s more likely that your assaulter will be someone you know. I don’t mention these facts to terrify you, but rather to help you be more aware of the truth, regardless of how you identify.

And, as a young girl heading off to college, you can imagine that my mother is somewhat anxious about letting her eldest go off on her own. At top of the emotional turmoil parents go through, they also have to come to terms with the fact that they cannot protect their babies from potentially dangerous circumstances. Therefore, my friend and I were signed up for an evening of self-defense classes at Dojo Chattanooga. While I initially rolled my eyes at what I thought was my mother's overreacting, I now see the immense value of the class. Regardless if you ever make it to a self-defense class (something I highly recommend), here are a few lessons I learned from a Self-Defense class.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Especially if you are walking by yourself, when it’s dark, or around an unsafe part of town, be aware of your surroundings.

If someone were to attack you, where would they come from? Remember when you would play hide-and-seek in elementary school? Hiding in a spot where you can see others, but can remain unseen, was ideal. As the person who was “it,” you had to put yourself in your friends’ shoes. Where would they hide? Likewise, you must put yourself in the assaulter's shoes. Behind walls or corners is a good place for people to hide. To account for this, try walking wide around corners and don’t opt to walk beside a wall.

Now this doesn’t mean you should be overly paranoid, but airing on the side of caution won’t hurt either.

Use the Environment to Your Advantage

If you ever find yourself in a dangerous situation, look around. Is there anything around you that you can use to your advantage? Here are a few things to look out for:

Ledge

A ledge under a window or any architecture that juts can be a tool that is often and very easily overlooked. Shove your attacker into a ledge, or if things get really nasty knock their head into the ledge, to give yourself time to get away.

Wall

On a bad day, you could find yourself pinned to a wall, unable to move. However, YOU can also use the wall as a weapon of self defense. Either use the wall as a bracing force to push off of, or use the wall as something to push your assaulter into before you run away.

Traffic

As a pedestrian, be wary of traffic. However, if you are being assaulted, you can push the assaulter into the road (yes, this sounds macabre, but when your life is in danger, do everything you can to reach safety).

Car

Cars symbolize freedom and independence, but they can also cause us to be in troubling situations. Before you get to your car, get your keys out beforehand. Rummaging through your bag/purse for keys leaves you vulnerable for a minute. Additionally, it’s best not to park in lonely parking garages at night. If you need to, ask to walked back to your car. However, make sure you trust the person who is walking you back too.

Posture

There’s been plenty of research to show that posture not only affects ourselves, but affects how others view us. This is important not only in an important business meetings, but also when it comes to how we carry ourselves daily. Posture provides subtle clues to those watching us. If you walk timidly, are absorbed in your phone, or have earbuds in, you can come off as distracted and an easy target. Instead, walk confidently, with a straight spine, and show the world that you are not someone to be messed with.

Prevention can only go so far. If you are ever being assaulted, here are THREE important things to keep in mind:

Elbows Over Fists

Although I too have seen boxing movies, that doesn’t mean that either of us are necessarily equipped with the skills to punch our aggressors. In fact, punch with incorrect form may leave us to injure our own selves. Therefore, instead of punch an aggressor, use your elbows, so handily designed to be pointed, to fight off an aggressor. Do take caution in turning your arms down, so that you do not hit your funny bone because that would not be humorous.

Kick, Kick, Kick

When in danger, and if you are close to your attacker, a few small kicks to their knee will temporarily impair them and give you enough time to scurry away. However, be wary of becoming off balance while kicking (prevent this by slightly bending your stationary knee and finding your center of balance) or having your leg be caught by your attacker, in which case you will probably fall and inflict more pain to yourself.

RUN!!

In the end, avoiding potentially dangerous situations is key. Although you may feel like a pro, as did I, after reading this article, it’s much better to run if you can, rather than testing out your new skills. As much as you want to scream “Fight Me,” fleeing is the safer option.

Check out Dojo Chattanooga for more tips and sign up for your very own self-defense lessons. I promise it’s worth every penny!

Cover Image Credit: Wordpress

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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In Real Life, 'Plus Size' Means A Size 16 And Up, Not Just Women Who Are Size 8's With Big Breasts

The media needs to understand this, and give recognition to actual plus-size women.

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Recently, a British reality dating TV show called "Love Island" introduced that a plus-sized model would be in the season five lineup of contestants. This decision was made after the show was called out for not having enough diversity in its contestants. However, the internet was quick to point out that this "plus-size model" is not an accurate representation of the plus-size community.


@abidickson01 on twitter.com


Anna Vakili, plus-size model and "Love Island "Season 5 Contestant Yahoo UK News

It is so frustrating that the media picks and chooses women that are the "ideal" version of plus sized. In the fashion world, plus-size starts at size 8. EIGHT. In real life, plus-size women are women who are size 16 and up. Plunkett Research, a marketing research company, estimated in 2018 that 68% of women in America wear a size 16 to 18. This is a vast difference to what we are being told by the media. Just because a woman is curvy and has big breasts, does NOT mean that they are plus size. Marketing teams for television shows, magazines, and other forms of media need to realize that the industry's idea of plus size is not proportionate to reality.

I am all for inclusion, but I also recognize that in order for inclusion to actually happen, it needs to be accurate.

"Love Island" is not the only culprit of being unrealistic in woman's sizes, and I don't fully blame them for this choice. I think this is a perfect example of the unrealistic expectations that our society puts on women. When the media tells the world that expectations are vastly different from reality, it causes women to internalize that message and compare themselves to these unrealistic standards.

By bringing the truth to the public, it allows women to know that they should not compare themselves and feel bad about themselves. Everyone is beautiful. Picking and choosing the "ideal" woman or the "ideal" plus-size woman is completely deceitful. We as a society need to do better.

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