Day 1: Self-defense
I entered the stark white room, excited and nervous, ready to teach my first class on the island. It was incredibly hot that day with no air conditioning and a heat index of 115 degrees. The women began to arrive and gathered around talking to one another in a small circle. I don’t know what they were saying but their body language said that they were as nervous as I.
I began by explaining the ways to avoid putting yourself in a dangerous situation. My Spanish is very limited so I had to relay and demonstrate all of this to a translator who was absolutely wonderful in being very frank with the ladies about the importance of escaping the cycle of domestic abuse.
We repeated the moves over and over and the ladies were very anxious to learn how to break free from a choke hold from behind.
This repetition helped them remember the moves and helped me to learn all the main body parts in Spanish. They were not shy about telling me when I pronounced something wrong either. Shortly into our lesson, I noticed that there was a group of men, who had been working outside in a courtyard, sitting in the window sill watching us. They now know which ladies not to mess with!
These women were very brave. They probably did not tell their spouses where they were going that day. They were there to empower themselves. Notice the smiles on their faces. We laughed and learned and then laughed some more. It was so much fun teaching such a willing and eager class. I can guarantee that these ladies are still practicing those skills everyday! I wouldn’t want to threaten them in a dark alley.
I can not end this post without giving a special shout out to all of the fine instructors at Bloomington ATA. Their training and involvement in my life enabled me to share these special skills. They teach so much more than Martial Arts. Check them out at http://www.bloomingtonata.com