It has been one year since my first Self-Defense article was published. I am so grateful to Leonie at The Elegant Luxe Life for this wonderful opportunity to expand my teaching through this forum. I have found this experience to be challenging for me – in a good way. It is one thing to teach Karate and Self-Defence in a class, where you can observe students working through the movements. It is another thing altogether to describe the movements and choose pictures that best represent the movement. As a teacher, in our classes the learning is through many repetitions under the supervision on an instructor. The instructor coaches the student through the technique until it becomes more fluid and the student can execute it independently and correctly with confidence. With writing an article and giving photographs, there is no feedback to the student. I endeavour each month to describe the technique with the details I feel are the most important for learning and execution.
This being said, I still encourage you to enroll in Karate classes. If you cannot take regular Martial Arts classes, look for self-defense courses and practice what you have learned. Reading, looking or watching on-line will never replace the hands-on instruction you get from a qualified Martial Artist; although it is a great way to supplement and support your training. Challenge yourself to learn from many forums. You never know what may work best for you or what may stick with you. You will be glad of your training if you ever need to call upon it!
Since I started to write these articles, I have always been left wondering if I am truly reaching anyone out there. Last month I received a message from one reader that stated she has started training at my encouragement. This was the most wonderful feedback I could ever possibly receive! This was the first person who told me that I inspired them to begin Martial Arts after reading my articles. I honestly hope that more women will begin training and discover the many benefits of martial arts and self-defence!
As a teacher, I believe that anyone can do Martial Arts. Self-Defense is meant for a smaller person to successfully protect themselves from a larger person. Self-defence is not about strength. This month I am having two of my children demonstrate a simple self-defense technique. Callum age 13 will be the attacker and Kayleigh age 9 will be the defender. They are demonstrating a self-defence technique where someone grabs both hands behind your back. The goal for Kayleigh here is to escape. In our children’s classes, we often ‘name’ the techniques to help students remember. This technique we call “Catch The Fly”.
• The attacker grabs both of your wrists from behind.
• The attacker is pulling your body backwards.
• Your body is off-balance.
• Do not play tug-of-war with the attacker. Instead, step back into the attacker and body-check them!
• Kayleigh has stepped back and into the attacker to knock them off balance. This helps to distract the attacker.
• Notice Kayleigh’s hands are open and they are now inline with her body instead of being behind her.
• She is already taking back control of the situation.
• Chamber your hands.
• For the non-martial artist, this means to bend your elbows, bringing your hands up high on your ribs.
• This is the position where we execute basic punches and blocks.
• Kayleigh’s arms are very strong here.
• Notice that her attacker Callum does not have a tight grip on her wrists anymore.
• This is where this technique gets its name, Catch The Fly.
• Shoot both hands straight out in front of you and “clap” your hands together or “catch the fly” in your hands.
• This is similar to a punching motion.
• Kayleigh needs to shoot her hands forwards as fast as she can here!
• Kayleigh has escaped the wrist grab, but she does not stay still.
• Step forward to complete the escape.
• It is important for her to get out of reach!
• Swing your back leg around to create more distance between you and your attacker.
• During these steps I want Kayleigh to use her voice to tell the attacker to stop and call attention to her situation.
• Now that she has successfully escaped, she needs to run to safety and find help from an adult that she can trust.
With all self-defense, your goal is to escape. This is not a fancy technique, it is very simple and effective. A smaller woman or even a child can do this very quickly to get free. It uses speed and the element of surprise for success. As always the defender must perform all the steps of this technique as fast as possible with maximum force and confidence.