Self-Defense for Self-Preservation

A few weeks ago, my neighbor let me know that our children’s Taekwondo instructor was giving a women’s self-defense class at a local rec center. She was excited to go, so I joined her.

Saturday morning, she picked me up and we headed to the rec center. I was a little nervous, but decided it would probably just be a few moves, easy-peasy, no sweating, in and out.

Well, walking in we saw about eight other females. The instructor immediately started us on some drills. Running laps. More drills. More laps. Sit up. Running. Finally stretching. I was a little shocked; this was our kids’ Taekwondo instructor, why was he not taking it easy on us?

After stretching, he had us sit and he told us his background and story. This was fascinating to me. I see this man twice a week, trust him with my child, and I didn’t know him.

He started off by saying why he teaches at a rec center and not some fancy institution. He grew up poor, they couldn’t afford those fancy martial arts places, and he wanted to make sure any kid from any background could afford it.

He then moved on to his personal history. Shot, stabbed, beat up, finger cut off. A rough background to say the least. Moving on, he explained why he wanted to start offering a women’s self-defense course. He wanted women to be able to protect themselves in any kind of situation.

My respect for this man grew ten times after he shared his personal story. Here’s a man who works full-time, then gives up his hours in the evenings to teach kids Taekwondo at a few different rec centers. And here he was giving up a Saturday morning to teach women protective moves for free.

Here’s some of the amazing things we were taught:

How to punch (always keep your arms up and blocking, don’t lower when you punch) and kick (never with toes up, always point and kick so top of the foot gets the impact).

If someone walks up and grabs your arm, turn to face them, grab their hand at the pressure point above their thumb and twist their hand off your arm/wrist. Keeping twisting and drop to the ground; this will make the attacker fall as well. When he’s down, kick or knee him in the face.

Don’t try to pull away, this makes their grip get stronger; you’re panicking and they’re getting control. Always try to twist their hand off yours.

If they’re taller and have you pinned up against the wall, once again twist their hands away using the pressure point, hit them in the nose with your palm. This will cause a broken nose.

If the attacker has you on the ground, they will usually go into two positions to choke you–on the side of the body or “full-guard” meaning completely sitting on top of you. Never let them get “full-guard.” If they’re on the side, swing your leg closest to them up and over, breaking their grip. Then swing the other leg over their head/neck, push them back with your leg and while doing so, sit up. This causes them to fall back, and then you’re top and in a better position to hold them down.

After we learned these, a few women told stories of how they were attacked or almost attacked. My lovely neighbor told me that when she was 19, a man drove up beside her, told her that her tire was flat, and after she pulled over and assumed he pulled over to help her, he tasered her a few times. She finally could figure out what was going on and run.

I was stunned. It makes me wonder if I will ever run into a situation where something like this may happen, since most of these women’s stories were just everyday situations. Someone getting robbed walking out of the grocery store, the car tire, etc.

It just went to show me that you can never be too safe at any time of the day. Always check and know your surroundings. Always be prepared.

He’s hoping to have another self-defense class with weapons, tasers, mace, knives, and learn self-defense moves and gun safety. I’m looking forward to learning more self-defense so I can pass on the knowledge to friends, family, and my children.


About Erin Renaghan

Erin is married to her Active Duty husband of 9 years. They are the proud parents of 4 children and currently enjoying their homeschooling adventure. They live outside of Fort Bragg, NC on a few acres that they share with their chickens, ducks, two Great Pyrenees puppies, a cat, and an English Bulldog. She is currently taking her pre-requisites to begin Nursing school while volunteering with local organizations and their FRG. If she ever has any downtime, she likes to exercise, read, write, and be with her family.

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