Last Saturday, I took a self-defense class. My friend Marilyn notified me and my friends from flute choir that this thing was going on, thanks to her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta. I don't know much about her sorority except they like to wear purple, and that my cousin's husband's sister (?) is also a member. And, apparently they do a lot of great stuff for women and the community. Anyway, I've known Marilyn for a long time, this is the second time she's notified me of this type of event, and at the last minute Saturday morning, I decided to go.
(They were also collecting donations to Sojourn House, an organization for battered women.)
It was held at Kingi Kajukenbo Studio, a martial arts studio in Inglewood. There are details here that I just don't remember now, all of six days later (like, what type of martial arts they do, the names of the instructors we worked with...), but listen to me: I walked in that door totally nervous, unprepared for what was about to happen to me, and I loved everything I saw, heard, and did that day.
The session started out with a woman named Sa'ra (sorry if I got that wrong), who talked to us (it was a small group; me, Marilyn, and a few other women, mostly younger than me, I think) about domestic violence. She showed us some very short videos on her iPad that were touching, scary and heartbreaking. Can something be both touching and heartbreaking, or am I overstating it? Anyway, I had tears in my eyes.
After that, we had to take off our shoes and get on the mat.
Okay, let's talk about this for a minute.
I was a band geek in High School, which means: I didn't take P.E. after the 8th grade. When I was in Middle School, most of my P.E. time was spent trying to get out of P.E. Any way possible. Poor Mses. Nestande and Tuggle probably thought I had the worst menstrual cycle of any teenage girl. Being in band meant I got to avoid that daily hell. I was not athletic, okay? I hate this stuff. My daily walking (my current goal is 11,000 steps a day, and I hit that... once in a while. My average is 9K) has been a little disrupted by some crazy back pain I've started having. So I was out of my element. Big time! But I took off my shoes and I stood there for a while and waited for stuff to get started. Totally freaking out.
I said to Marilyn, who may not have understood the extent of my anxiety, "I am so nervous right now!" I positioned myself so that I was standing facing the portion of brick wall that wasn't covered with a mirror. I know I'm a dork, I don't need to see it.
Anyway, we started simply: how to handle someone who approaches and seemingly wants to mess with us: hands up, loudly say "Back off!" while backing away. We talked about how getting away from the situation is a really good first reaction. Then we practiced this. Marilyn was my partner, and pretended she was coming at me. I put my hands up, and said, "back off."
You would not believe the effort it takes to raise your voice like that. At least, for me. Practicing this was really a great idea. We kept trying - and eventually I got it. "Back off!" Once I said "Back off, Marilyn!" which made us both laugh. If I'm ever attacked by somebody named "Marilyn," I'm all set. Or maybe I'll just say it to throw them off balance. Maybe "Marilyn" can be my power word.
Anyway, we worked on a lot of things, and all of them were shown to us in a fun way by the really kind and very talented (and, I have to say, extremely good looking) instructors.
After all the training (among other things, I got to flip Marilyn off me - she did it to me, too - and that was really awesome) was over, we took pictures, and went home.
The next couple of days I was very sore. Oddly, my back didn't hurt during the class.
That's all for now.