As I was going through my files today, I discovered an old photo of a 'Thank You' card I once made. It was given to a police officer who spent weeks of his time helping me and a small group of women learn some important principles of self-defense. The class, organized around a system called R.A.D. (Rape Attack Defense), was a phenomenal experience and I'm writing now to encourage all of you to find one in your area and make an investment for yourselves and loved ones. The class is designed for all ages and abilities. We had one woman in our class who was still in rehab for a double knee replacement and she did only those things that she was able to do.
I originally signed up at the encouragement of a friend. I had visions of myself as a Ninja warrior drop-kicking bad guys in the head. Instead, I found myself confronted with the reality that there's no way I can win a hand-to-hand fight with a physically superior person....
...And then I was given tools to increase my chances of escape and survival.
I won't go into too much detail here. You really need to attend the class:). But I will tell you that the focus of the system is on prevention and escape...Not beating up the bad guy. Learning how to avoid the evil-doer and learning some tools to help you do a very important thing: Create an opportunity to RUN!
The best and worst part of the experience was being put into an attack situation. We were outfitted in pads and helmets and put into a scenario with a very large and also well-padded man. I won't tell you that I did well. I don't think I did. I learned a lot about my body's response to fear though! I was afraid. They made it as close to a real-life scenario as possible and I was not a little surprised by my heart rate and trembling. I learned that there is no way that I could ever beat that guy up. I learned that if I'm ever in a real situation like that, my opportunity is going to be brief and I'd best be somewhat prepared.
I remember very clearly one thing in particular Officer Vanacek said. He was addressing the topic of "passive resistance" which is when a person chooses to be 100% compliant in order to appease the attacker and hopefully gain freedom. He told us that he thinks there may be times when that could work. His personal opinion, however, is that it isn't likely to work and that we should fight with every last breath in our bodies.
I tend to agree with him. And I am so very grateful for what he gave me in that class. Not the ability to to karate chop bad dude into submission...But the knowledge I need to hopefully avoid those situations and to use the tools that I do have to preserve a life. My life. I am daughter, sister, friend, wife and mother...And that means something.