Local Seattle runner Kelly Herron was assaulted on a run a few weeks after attending a self-defense class at her office. Using the skills she learned, she was able to fight off her attacker and lock him in a bathroom stall while she waited for the police to come. Talk about badass. After the attack, Kelly challenged workplaces to take care of their employees through corporate self-defense workshops, just as her own office did.
We accepted Kelly’s challenge, and our TomboyX family gathered together at the office for an informative and empowering two-hour self-defense class—this is what they wanted to share afterwards.
What was the best tactic or piece of advice you learned from the class?
The best advice I learned from the class is to address potential attackers directly as soon as you notice something is off. If someone is following you, turn around and address it head on with confidence. If someone touches you without invitation, assert your discomfort with a serious tone. Trying to ignore the potential attacker may make you a more desirable target than if you come off as strong and assertive.—Gabi
What are the three most crucial areas to hit when fighting off an attacker?
The eyes, throat, and knees. Most people thought the groin was one, but I learned it is not as vulnerable as the three listed.—Erin
What was one thing you learned that surprised you?
I was surprised at how effective some of the techniques were for escaping from strong holds and chokes. Even if someone who is stronger than you has you in their grip or in a choke, you still have the power to get out by being strategic and hitting targeted areas with force. Also, I liked the reminder that if you try one tactic and it doesn’t work, you should never give up. You should keep looking for an opening and try multiple tactics.—Fran
What was a new defense technique you learned?
If someone is choking you, you can grab their middle finger and peel it off your neck. You can do this whether they are choking you from behind or the front. I was very surprised how well it worked when I practiced it, even with someone stronger than me!—Jaimie
What was a new offensive technique you learned?
If you have multiple attackers coming at you, attack the biggest threat first. If you were being choked by one person and your hands were being held by another person, you would try to take out the choker with a kick to the knees.—Steph
What is one of the practice scenarios that most helped you?
I liked the parking lot scenarios we practiced. If you feel like someone is following you to your car, turn to them with confidence and step toward them saying, "Can I help you?" Your confidence could make them back off. However, you should always trust your gut. If it doesn't feel like the right move to approach a person in that way, don't do it. Keep your mind prepared with lots of action items in those situations, thinking "if this happens, I'm going to do this. If that happens, I'm going to do that." Stay alert, stay confident.—Shena
How did you feel after the class?
Empowered and more aware of how to protect myself. My level of self-confidence for a situation like that is higher now. When I went home, I practiced saying statements with power. "No!" "Go away!" "Not today!" "Back off!" A strong message in the course was to never lose hope even when the situation seems dire. There is always something you can do!—Naomi
What would you tell someone who says they can’t find the time to take a self-defense class?
It's worth it to gain self-defense skills, because you never know when you're going to need them. Even if you never have to use them, you gain confidence by knowing they are in your back pocket. Being confident and not panicking may make you a less desirable target.—Julie
We hope you feel empowered to take a self-defense class in your area, and learn these life-saving techniques. Our self-defense class was hosted by Seven Star Women's Kung Fu in Seattle. Put your fists up and tell the world, "Not today motherfucker!"
We want to hear about your experience with self-defense classes in the comments below. What are the most effective techniques you've learned and have you ever had to use them?