Feeling Empowered Through Self-Defense

I have been wanting to take some kind of self-defense class. Although the trail I typically go jogging on is fairly popular, I always have that nagging worry in the back of my mind. I’m not constantly on guard worrying that somebody will assault me, but the thought is there. These what-if type of thoughts especially arise when I am out jogging with D in the stroller.

I was fortunate this week in that my husband came across some information about a free event that was taking place Saturday at Greenlake Park in Seattle. The event was organized by Fighting Chance Seattle, a martial arts dojo located in Ballard. Jordan, the owner of the dojo, wanted to have the event as a response to an incident that took place in October where a woman had been assaulted while walking around Greenlake. This is terrible, but what was even more terrible was how it was reported by the news. Apparently the message that was conveyed was that women should be afraid; that it’s not safe for women to go jogging alone, especially at Greenlake. To combat this message, an event for a free 1-hour hands-on self-defense course was organized, specifically for female runners.

I was excited when my husband told me about this event and of course I attended the class. The class, called Run Prepared, focused on some key tips on how to be an aware and empowered runner, and how to avoid being a “crappy victim”. We were then shown five different strikes and how to escape three different holds which we then got to practice with the instructors, who, I might mention, are students of the dojo who volunteered their time for the event. The class felt very empowering as I stood alongside 35 women learning how to kick butt and protect themselves should they ever need to. By the end of the class I had a good grasp on how to defend myself and how to avoid finding myself in a dangerous situation to begin with. I left wanting to learn more and am looking forward to taking a full self-defense class.

Today while out on my run, I put what I learned yesterday into practice. I was more aware of my surroundings and focused on making myself not look like a good target. I actually felt more confident as a runner which helped when I came across two men on the trail. They weren’t typical trail-goers. What I mean by that is that they weren’t out for a jog, bike ride, or out enjoying each others company while on a leisurely walk. From what I gathered from their loud conversation, their car had run out of gas. As I ran past them, one of them began catcalling, which pretty much never happens on this trail. Instead of feeling fearful or anxious, I felt mad. How dare you? I thought. Instead of hunching down and making myself small, I made myself bigger and I ran harder and faster, all the while in my mind I replayed the self-defense tactics I had learned the day prior. After I got home I realized just how much one hour had changed my disposition. Just applying some tips and tricks to be more aware of myself and my surroundings while having some defense moves in my back pocket just in case has made me a more confident and empowered woman.

I highly recommend taking a self-defense class. As women, we have the right to feel empowered and confident and to not be afraid. To learn more about Fighting Chance Seattle, check them out here. Also be on the lookout for a documentary about the event yesterday to learn more about what was taught.

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