Earlier this month, my friend and I found ourselves punching tufts of air while hysterically laughing throughout our first self-defense class. At 11 a.m. on a Saturday morning, I was pumped to punch some pretend perpetrators and learn how to become more acutely aware of my surroundings.
I consider myself a human suffering from “small dog syndrome,” meaning I think I am bigger and take up more space than I actually do. While this can sometimes get me into trouble, my self-defense instructor would most likely say this defect is the best thing a 5’2″ woman can be blessed with.
Check out the five favorite things I learned at my self-defense class after the jump!
1. Feign confidence. Even if you are a small Chihuahua, stroll down the sidewalk like a Great Dane! If you pretend like you’re tough and know where you’re going, men are less likely to harass you. If a man, for example, is following behind you, look back at him and give a stern “What’s up” signal, by either speaking to him or nodding your head. Pretending you aren’t afraid of him gives you a one up.
2. Learn how to think fast. Your phone is your best friend whenever you feel yourself in an uncomfortable situation. Pull your phone out, hold it up to your ear, and pretend that you are talking to your “boyfriend.” If you feel someone following close behind you, say to the phone, “Oh, we are meeting there? I thought we were meeting at _____?” and begin to walk in another direction. If the man continues to follow you, then you might have to resort to other self-defense tactics.
3. Stand close to the floor buttons on the elevator. After the class, my friend and I were discussing what we learned not to do in an elevator. She mentioned the scene in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” where Lisabeth threatens Nils Bjurman in the elevator.
When entering the elevator, Mr. Bjurman goes straight to the opposite corner of the floor buttons, furthest away from the other passenger in the elevator. Instead of doing this, make sure you are standing next to the buttons. If you do reach the point where you’re feeling uneasy about someone riding in the elevator with you, you can easily press the next approaching floor button, say, “Shoot, I forgot my phone!,” and run out the elevator doors.
4. The safest place to be in on the ground. You would never think that if an attack did occur, on the ground wouldn’t be your best position. However, our instructor showed us that if you do find yourself pushed to the ground, you can fail your legs around in a mixed up and disordered motion, and the attacker will have trouble grabbing your legs. Another tactic when pushed to the ground is demonstrated in this video.
5. Know the “bitch slap.” While this self-defense move is probably not called the “bitch slap” in other classes, the move is effective in many situations. This move was the easiest for me, as it requires a swift hit in the ear, causing hearing loss, pain, and throwing the attacker off balance. Here is an example of the “ear slap.” I prefer bitch slap, though.
While these are just some of the highlights of my self-defense course, there are so many other tricks and tactics to learn when faced with a dangerous situation. I encourage every woman to invest in taking a self-defense class — it could potentially save your life.