This photo was taken this evening. The young lady kneeling on the floor patiently, while I took this selfie *and* holding a training gun to her head, requested self defence lessons before an overseas trip volunteering her skills in a third world country.
As a Taekwondo instructor, my job is to make sure each practitioner leaves the dojang a harder target than when they entered. I worry more so with self defence classes and women self defence classes where participants are ill prepared for the rigors of self defence. Most lack a mindset that may help protect themselves and most want a ‘magic bullet’ gifted to them … so they can do “a little self defence” with minimal force to stop the opponent. Wishful thinking.
This young lady however worked hard in the three sessions we scheduled for her. She was bruised and battered, driven to the point of near exhaustion and nearly about to throw her guts. But she made it through a cut down version of our self defence lessons for unarmed defence, groundwork, multiple opponent drills, and defence against weapons.
When we were discussing some of the self defence concepts, I wanted to make a point that whatever situation she got herself in, she needed to replicate the exact scenario we’ve set up in the class for her self defence techniques to work. Basically she’s at the ground level and has little experience in applying our knowledge. What will work for her is to ‘engineer’ herself into a similar situation as the class has created in order to ‘do what she has to do’.
It’s just like putting a jigsaw together. You’ve got a piece in your hand, and within the same coloured areas, you are trying to put that piece into what looks like similar holes. Similarly, she’s got a small range of skills and she’s going to have to use those skills (plus her ‘happy meal’ of heel palms, knee strikes, and a headbutt) against a wide range of diverse attacks.
In our system of martial arts, this eventually gives way to skill that allows you to do course corrections whilst under duress. Such better judgement means application of self defence technique at various distances, against different attacks and against wherever that opponent is in a three dimensional space. This is how students learn, and instructors should teach expecting this to happen.