Lauren TaylorLauren Taylor has taught self-defense for more than 20 years, and is certified by the National Women’s Martial Arts Federation. She's taught thousands of women, teens, children and men in the Washington, DC, area, and specializes in teaching survivors of abuse and assault, LGBT people, and people with disabilities. Sarah T of 5 Smooth Stones self-defense has been teaching conflict resolution and self defense since 1995. Most of her hundreds of students are teenagers in high-crime environments and women survivors of abusive relationships.
Lauren Taylor: Hi, my name is Lauren Taylor; we have been talking about how to defend yourself. Now, I am going to talk about how you can make self defense a part of your everyday life. First of all, I want to caution you, if you practice and it is a good idea to practice some of the techniques that you learned today, it is a good idea to practice them safely. That means practice your hits to the air, write them down, visualize them in your mind like you are an athlete, what would I do, how would I hit, where would I go, what would I say, you can also practice hitting on pillows or the bed or the couch or something like that.
Do not practice on live human beings who are not attacking you. It is really easy to make a mistake and hit someone and they get a broken nose or whatever, that is bad news, it is also good news that it is easier to hurt somebody than you think. So, if you need to use any self defense, go for it, but do not practice on live human beings who are not attacking you. I want to review the verbal principles, say what you want, use your voice, body language and facial expression to do all of those. Remember you want your voice, body and face to be in alignment with each other and then tell them what you want if they do not do what you ask, they do not respect your limit or respect your no, say it again, repeat yourself and get more intense.
We try and remember that hitting someone is not a good first resort, the other options you want to always think about are, can I get away, can I run, can I leave, can I talk or yell to get help or to set a limit or can I get help either from someone nearby or from making a phone call or from reporting it to a counselor or a teacher or employment person? Getting help is a very underutilized strategy, so consider can I leave, can I talk, can I get help? Whatever the situation is, even if you feel you have dealt with, it is important to tell someone, you may not choose to tell the police but to tell someone who can help you process it. Remember, that no matter what you do, whether you were assertive or nonassertive, you made good decisions you made bad decision, whatever you do it was not your fault, the fault and the responsibility lies with the person who chooses to harass, abuse or attack.
So, bottom line remember, you are worth it, you are worth defending, you deserve to be safe, take those steps for yourself.