GET IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME
"The unforgivable crime is soft hitting. Do not hit at all if it can be avoided; but never hit softly." -- Theodore Roosevelt
One of the hardest things for women to do in our workshops is to immediately move from “zero to one-hundred” when practicing verbal and physical techniques. It usually goes something like this:
Me: “When Pretend Badguy grabs you from behind, drop to your base, drive your elbow into his solar plexus HARD, and scream ‘NO!’”
(Pretend Badguy grabs)
Everywoman: (Squirms. Makes a half-hearted gesture with her elbow toward his chest.) “no”
Me: “Is that as hard as you can hit?”
Everywoman: “I guess not.”
Me: “Try it again.”
This cycle usually continues for 3-4 attempts, gradually building, before there is some semblance of hard contact and forceful verbalization.
Here’s the thing about “Everywoman” in this scenario: She is not weak. She is not necessarily soft-spoken. She has been taught to “test the waters” before stepping out of her comfort zone. She has learned that it is best to use the least objectionable approach to resolving conflict situations.
Unfortunately, these habits are dangerous – possibly even deadly – in an attack situation. An attacker does not intend to let go of his victim; he chose her because he was certain he could overpower her. The only way he will let go is if he is forced to do so. In other words, turn his offense to defense, even if only for a moment, and escape. To do this, you must level an unexpected counter-attack and strike to inflict injury, not pain. Do you really think struggling in his grasp followed by a slap to the chest has the potential to inflict injury? Possibly insult, probably irritation, but certainly not injury. Instead, move quickly INTO him with solid blow to the center of the chest, or strike to the throat, or palm heel to the face. There are many effective targets, but there are two essential elements: strike FAST and strike HARD.
The good news for Everywomen? Gradual escalation is a learned response, and can be unlearned. Train in your verbal and physical techniques often, and always train with 100% effort. When you practice, aim to hit maximum effort the FIRST time, every time. Remember, with Real Badguy, you may not get a second.