Sheepdog and I both are firm believers in teaching our kids how to protect themselves. The boys seem to have some instinctive fist fight/ wrestling thing that I am guessing brothers bring out in each other. I have no first hand knowledge of this, but I am watching Kid D and Kid E beat the feathers out of each other and I find myself screaming, “Take it down a notch” or “Take that outside so you don’t break my house” no less than twenty times a day. Neither Sheepdog nor I taught them these moves, and they still primarily watch only Disney shows, so I’m guessing it is most likely hard-wired in them. But these girls are a different story.
They are lovers, not fighters. They like make-up and they spend ridiculous amounts of time on their hair. They play(ed) school and dress-up and beauty parlor. They never once pretended that they were in a G.L.O.W. match with each other. They might put on costumes and skates, but they would never do it to have a roller derby. And although they follow the first rule of Fight Club (“Don’t ever talk about Fight Club”), it is only because they have never heard of Fight Club. No, these girls are not prepared at all.
We have been looking for a self-defense class for the girls for a while now. We looked into karate and it seemed to be a good solution, but many places around here were requiring a three year contractual commitment, which was not something that would work for us, especially since the girls were already involved in other activities. We have a friend who learned self-defense at the hands of an (ex-CIA/ black ops) expert and she was going to give them a “lesson” based upon what she had learned, but we just can’t seem to make our schedules work together.
So I was excited when I heard about a local class that teaches teenage girls how to make smart choices, recognize safety compromises, react in dangerous situations, and generally protect themselves. They even encourage the moms to sit in on the class, so I would also get a refresher course.
The class was pretty good. They used a DVD format to show certain potential attack/ kidnapping-by-a-stranger situations (bus stop, ATM, parking lot) and they showed two different girls – one who always reacted the wrong way (she got taken away in the van every time) and one who reacted the better way (she was more aware of her surroundings and used some fairly simple defense moves to successfully evade her attacker). They also briefly covered date/ acquaintance assault (including rape and other acts of violence) and showed the girls a Dating Bill of Rights that reminded them that they have to stand up for themselves, even against someone they think that they love. They showed them how to “fight like a girl”…go for the eyes (poke them out), ears (rip them off) and then groin (knee as a battering ram into) anybody who was threatening or menacing to them in any way. They showed them things that even tiny, little girls can use against much bigger and stronger opponents.
Sheepdog was a little disappointed that they didn’t get more slam the base-of-the-hand-to-the nose-of-your-attacker training in the class, but I am not looking for them to go all Million Dollar Baby into the boxing or MMA rings. If that were the case, I would just enroll them in a Brazilian jiujitsu or Muay Thai class and call it a day. I just think that is a little bit of overkill.
What I want is for my daughters to be prepared to instinctively fend off an attacking stranger or a bad date. I want them to be aware of their surroundings. I want them to have self-esteem and confidence. I do not ever want them to be victims.
So here’s to praying that bad things never happen. But if they do, at least my daughters will know how to fight like a girl.
Wish me luck for tomorrow…
Good idea…I should probably take a self defense class for myself. Probably post-pregnancy, though, eh?
I don’t know… your balance is never better than when you are pregnant. That’s why knocked up girls make for great golfers. And I find that I rarely do the things I said I’d do after the baby. Except when the thing was “go to the Dominican Republic without any kids.”
Million Dollar Baby-style might be a bit much. But that class sounds really good. You never know when you might find yourself in a difficult situation, so it’s always good to be prepared for (just about) anything. Sometimes we forget how much our kids need that. Nice post.