Recently, I learned that my daughters enjoy whipping me down to the mat and testing me to see if I can get myself out of potentially dangerous situations. Their enthusiasm causes the instructors to chuckle and me to warn them not to hurt anyone, especially their “old” mama. The loud thwack as I hit the ground shoots either girl to her feet in a sort of jig, a grin spreading across her face. It’s a good thing only one can test me at a time. LOL
It all started many years ago when I noticed that our police department was offering self-defense classes. At the time, I wasn’t able to attend, but I filed the thought away in my mind. Fast track to this past summer when I contacted a friend of mine to see if she and her husband would offer a self-defense class for local home school families because I wanted to take the class with my daughters. They own the local Jiu Jitsu martial arts business. They said yes, and now, we are enthusiastic students.
After the first class, all three of us came home so excited that my husband reminded us to speak one at a time. I soon learned that a seven week class wasn’t going to be enough. My girls seem to drink this stuff up, learning it quickly; but I am a bit slower. Even though I study the instructors as they show us the new move, when it comes time to demonstrate, it appears that I wasn’t paying enough attention. This has proven to me that this is a long-term commitment if we want to make these moves second nature.
During the first class, our instructors explained the phases of an attack and how each of us should be vocal if someone makes us uncomfortable. We have intuition for a reason—to protect ourselves. If we feel uncomfortable or uneasy, it’s imperative that we say so. If the person is offended then perhaps we had reason to be afraid. If ill intent is intended then the person’s actions will indicate our response.
The first rule is to always be aware and to not give a predator an opportunity to take us by surprise. The second is to stay calm. Common places of attacks are college campuses, convenience stores and gas stations, ATMs, mall parking lots, and our own homes.
One of my daughters wrote an essay to persuade us to allow her to continue classes. “Jiu Jitsu teaches realistic techniques on how to help yourself,” she said, adding that the classes are interesting and the hour flies by. Jiu Jitsu, a martial art that uses grips, chokes, locks, and pins to use in self-defense, is unlike other martial arts because it allows you to get close and personal in trying out your fighting and escaping skills so that you know with confidence that you can handle tough situations, no matter your size.
Our introduction to Jiu Jitsu has created a hunger for more. In addition to teaching my daughters how to protect themselves, it is good exercise. My husband and I will have to determine how we can make this work. It is a skill you hope they will never need to use in a dangerous situation, but it is nice to know that if they learn well, they will be prepared.
I’d like to thank our instructors, Diane, Dave, and Sarah, for their patience and for sharing their expertise and love of the sport.
Have you tried Jiu Jitsu or another martial art?
For more information, visit Fluidmotionbjj.com.
Picture used with permission from Fluid Motion.