This Self Defense class was not for me – On my Weekly Training Recap

What I envisioned for a self defense class was to learn tactics on how to defend or even better, escape from an attacker.  However I really didn’t know what to expect when I attended an hour class this past week.  Let’s just say, I need more than an hour to master the two specific moves we practiced.   And I can’t imagine as a petite woman to actually do these moves to someone who wants to harm me.  Nevertheless, if I want to protect myself I should invest my time in at least learning a few tactics.

The number of incidents involving female runners with the recent one in Seattle is alarming.  I couldn’t help but think of what I would do if I were the victim.  When the Seattle runner informed her Instagram followers about a recent self defense class she took, I was on a mission to look for one.  Coincidentally as  I scrolled through the Lymber app to search for the next class to try, I saw one titled ‘Ladies Self Defense Class’ with the Primal Training Center.

This particular self defense class is based on the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Self Defense training program.  In the description of the class it mentioned ‘the traditional martial art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Self Defense was made famous by its technique allowing the smaller victim to defend against attackers many times larger.’  I’m small!  And I could sure learn how I can defend myself against bigger attackers!  It was only a $5 class so why not give it a try?  I also convinced a friend to sign up with me on a Thursday night.

Balance Challenged

We started with a warm-up session with a stability ball.  I’ve done exercises on a ball before but not to the extent we did.  My balance was a bit off and it didn’t help that my ball was fully inflated.  We had to do an inversion which was impossible for me to do.  I couldn’t get my legs over my body.  And the final balance exercise was hands and knees on the ball or kneeling with the body upright.  That was a big thumbs down for me 😟

Balance on all fours! My big fail this past week! Image credit to

Balance on all fours! My big fail this past week! Image credit to

Movement Challenged

Next part of the session involved punching gloves and a bag.  A brand new experience for me.  I had a great time throwing a few punches and elbows.

We spent the last fifteen minutes learning defensive techniques on a cushioned dummy.  However when the instructor demonstrated, he did it with one of his coaches.  One of the techniques was called the ‘Arm Bar’ from a mount position. After I watched him, I wasn’t quite sure how to execute the motion.  And still reluctant when I saw another person do it. I needed the instructor to walk me through the move.  It almost seems as if my brain switched off!  Kinda embarrassed but it’s part of the learning process.

Image credit to Ultimate Jujitsu

Arm Bar. Image credit to Ultimate Jujitsu

Another move we learned was a choke hold.  That one was much easier for me to understand and we actually practiced it with the other ladies in the class.

Not my style of Self Defense

While I learned new moves in class and discovered a few weaknesses, I walked away without any confidence of the ability to defend myself.  Don’t really want to put anyone in an arm bar or a choke hold.   I understand the point of it when you’re engaged in a fight.  I’m not a confrontational person.  I would fight to fend off an attacker but not to choke them.  There’s actually an interesting article by ‘Brutal Barb‘ as to why they don’t include arm bars in their self defense classes.  Here are the reasons why:

First, successfully positioning, especially in self-defense situations, requires body movement that most people need significant repetition to acquire. Secondly, a much bigger and stronger opponent (attacker) can potentially rip his arm out of the submission, and even body slam a smaller woman. Thirdly, an attacker whose elbow you have broken is still in between your legs. You still have to get away, and someone who is angry enough may still deliver blows despite the broken elbow.

Based on what I read from her post, I would prefer to go to her class but she’s based out of AZ.   So I will be searching for others in my area.  In the meantime, I found two helpful videos with self defense tactics for females.

One from Runner’s World:

Another from a post on the Trail and Ultrarunning FB group:

My Run Week

Half Marathon training is going well.  I completed 3 runs this week and skipped a trail run.  It took me a couple of days to recover from the trail run last weekend.  Even on Wednesday I still felt tired, but I pushed through 3×1 mi intervals on the treadmill.  Saturday I joined the Movin Shoes group for their long run on a new route.  It was a bike pathway heading towards downtown La Jolla area.  I was a bit wary of the walkers with unleashed dogs.  I guess they trust their dogs not to bother runners on the path.  You never know how they’re going to react.  So I usually slow down and let them sniff me.  Fortunately, not even one approached me.  I did try my best to avoid them though.

Have you taken a self-defense class?  Do you carry anything with you to ward off attackers or ‘mean dogs’?

Linking with Holly and Tricia for their Weekly Wrap.  I’m always late in the game with posting mine but I can’t seem to get in the mood to write on the weekends!  Nevertheless, thanks for being awesome hosts and supporting active women.