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This Part Rarely Gets Talked About

This Part Rarely Gets Talked About

Last night, myself and other 500rising instructors attended a virtual training presentation on “Legal & Ethical Implications – The art of explaining yourself”. The training was pre-work for the in-person training next month to attain Level II certification. As always, the information Tammy McCracken (founder of 500rising) shared left me thinking, why don’t more instructors talk about this in self-defense classes?

A lot of self-defense training focuses on the physical aspect. How to hit or kick, and the best places on the human body to target. Many times, the training includes a tool that a person can carry to defend themselves and the best ways to use it. This area of study is all about being in the fight.

Fairly new to self-defense training (at least in the everyday women’s self-defense discussion) is situational awareness. How to observe your surroundings using all your senses. How that information is fed from your subconscious to your conscious. How to take action to avoid a physical confrontation. Reading other people’s body language and improving your own non-verbal signals to give off the vibe that you are not an easy target. This area of study focuses on before the fight, and what I geek out about.

The area I don’t see many social media posts, blogs, articles, etc. regarding is the aftermath.

*You became aware of a potential threat to your safety and tried to avoid it. Situational Awareness

*You weren’t able to avoid it, so now you are in a physical fight to defend yourself. Self-defense

*The fight is over, and you are alive. Now what? Aftermath

In the first few minutes after you have defended your life and stopped the threat, how will you feel? What will you do? What are the things you need to do?

Your body’s natural response to a threatening situation is an adrenaline rush. It helps your body react more quickly. It makes the heart beat faster and increases blood flow to the brain and muscles. It’s your “fight-or-flight” reaction. It can also decrease your ability to feel pain and give you a burst of strength to do something you wouldn’t be able to do under normal circumstances.

Coming down from that adrenaline rush can make you feel weak, tired, drained, and barely able to speak in complete sentences. You may be injured and needing medical attention, but you are alive and have the opportunity to heal.

Defending yourself in a fight is an act of violence. You did everything you could think of to avoid getting to that point, but it happened anyway. You’re a mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend…you may never have thought of yourself as a woman who has a “mean right hook” or who knows what it feels like to do damage to human flesh. It can have a mental impact that lasts much longer than coming down from the adrenaline rush.

The aftermath of violence has physical, psychological, legal, and ethical impacts. The topic deserves its own focus as part of a well-rounded training program. The 500rising training last night went just over an hour and barely scratched the surface of aftermath. I’m looking forward to the in-person training next month to deepen my knowledge, so I can share it with you. Together, we can go from strength to strength and change the statistics on violence against women.

“Everything has the opportunity to heal, except death.”

-Kelly Sayre

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How Are You Doing Today?

How Are You Doing Today?

After Sheryl Sandberg’s husband passed away unexpectedly, she co-wrote the book “Option B” with Adam Grant. It’s a real and raw account of the pain of losing a spouse and the aftermath no one likes to talk about. One of the big takeaways I got from it was not to ask friends during difficult times “how are you doing?” because it “comes across as a standard greeting without genuine concern”.  Instead ask, “how are you doing today?” which is more specific and reminds them they don’t have to have the future figured out.

The revised question is now the only version I ask people because I genuinely care and want to know how they’re doing…today. If 2020 has shown us anything, it’s that nothing is certain. I can have the best plans set in place, I can have the prettiest vision board created, and in an instant, everything can change.

Dealing with constant change is exhausting. It’s overwhelming to try and control things that are out of your control. Learning to be flexible is important. Building resiliency is an absolute necessity. Learning to stay present and focused only on the day ahead of you takes practice. But the peace you get from letting go of tomorrow’s unknowns is wonderful. 

You’ve probably heard all of these things before. (I may or may not have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to beautiful quote pictures on these topics.) They are the basic life skills that we strive to understand and master in order to lead full and enriching lives. Self-care is the trend, especially during this time in history. Meditation, mindfulness, and building our confidence to live the life we want. I’ve seen a lot of posts asking people to really think about the things they want to add back in to their lives in the future. So much of our lives was put on hold and so many things we considered “normal” were turned upside down. Before you rush to “go back to normal”, take the time to ask yourself, “what do I really want normal to look like?”

All of those self-care habits and the opportunity to pause and truly decide what you want and don’t want in your life, are the same skills you use in your personal safety.

Living in fear of “what if something happens to me?” is exhausting and overwhelming. You can’t control another person’s actions, but you can control your boundaries and how you enforce them. Putting away distractions and staying present and mindful of your surroundings, is actually relaxing. When your intuition doesn’t have to fight for your attention, you will get the message that something’s not right quicker and be able to react faster.

When you have the opportunity to decide what self-defense tool would work best for you, you realize it doesn’t have to be what everyone else tells you to carry. As women, we either have a handbag full of crap we’re hauling around, or a cute little clutch. Our dress pants (and many other items of clothing) typically don’t have pockets. If they do, they’re small and non-functioning.

But guess what, those cute heels that you like to wear? Those can do some damage to the top of someone’s foot, their eyes, or even their neck if need be.

I like to say, “if all you had were your wits and fists, what could you do?”. You get to decide what works best for you. 

What I care about is helping you start looking at the life skills you’re already using, and applying them to your personal safety. When you start to gain confidence in your skills in one area of life, that confidence will spill over and help you gain confidence in other areas of your life.

Make sure to follow the DAG Instagram and Facebook pages so you can practice staying present in your daily life starting today. (Not a follower yet? Click here for IG and here for FB.)

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So…

How are you doing today?

Where is your comfort level regarding your own personal safety today? 

How can I help you today?