Not even weather reports warning of the latest blizzard could keep away the group of women eager to invest their time to learn how to protect themselves. On Saturday we had a fantastic turnout for our P.O.P. class (protecting ourselves from perpetrators), lead and organized by Black Belt and Silver Creek High School Leadership Academy member, Angela Walter.

I honestly thought the inclement weather was going to keep people from attending, and right up until about five minutes before our start time it looked like that was going to be the case, although the snow hadn’t started falling yet.

Angela requested that I teach defense against chokes from behind and how to prevent abduction.  I started by teaching the women what it felt like to have the oxygen supply cut off; each attacker approached a woman from behind placing his hand over her mouth and nose so she could not breathe.  Learn how to  forestall their panic response so as not to freeze under attack.

Then I taught them how to spring into action. In about  90 minutes, I taught them how to move instinctually, how to naturally slip out of the chokes and how to use the attacker’s force, structure and intention against him.

By the time I was finished teaching, no one was going to get a hold of these women. To prove it (both to me and to themselves) I had Paul gear up in protective armor and attack them at full speed, full force.

Because I didn’t have time to teach them how to strike back in this class, the only objective was to escape a hold, break contact and run for their lives. Just as I expected, having done this for decades, each attack was over in a flash.

Even at full speed, especially at full speed, no one hesitated. I taught them how to move, not how to think, and their bodies did just that. As soon as Paul attacked them, at the critical moment, the motor memories they built up in the past 90 minutes fired.

They had escaped before they had time to think about what it happened. Several women had incredulous looks on their faces, at how effectively they had just protected themselves.

Even though I had not taught them any specific techniques, I noticed several arm bars and shoulder locks that would have incapacitated anyone other than Paul, the train martial artist who was attacking them.  As it was, he had to use all of his skills to stay safe from their counterattacks.

At the end of each workshop, Paul and I compare notes as to how the women performed. Each time, this time included, I comment how amazed I am by how quickly these women learned the lessons and put them INTO ACTION.

I told Paul that it took me years of Traditional Martial Arts training to be able to perform like these women did in 2 short hours.

My final comment to him was,“these women have no idea how good they have it.” I wish I had originally learned they way I now teach!

They have taken the first step to be ready to Protect Themselves From Perpetrators. I am so proud of all of them.

Of course, there’s much more where this all came from.  We’ll delve into other scenarios next month, March 21st, 2015 in our next POP class.

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