Self-Defense 101 — Week 1 Homework
There are five sections below:
- Recap — a review of what we covered in class
- Reading — from your handout packet. This will tell you the key points you need to know. Download the handout packet here.
- Video — YouTube, Vimeo, or other videos to augment a point.
- To Do — this is your homework. Please do it.
- QUIZ — a few questions to refresh your memory from class.
Look over all these sections. This may look like a LOT of stuff, but most of it is a refresher of what we covered in class. Your homework will not take a lot of time, but will make a big difference in your mastery and retention of the material.
We covered a lot of material this first session!
- As you saw in your first email, there are a few myths that may need to dealt with:
- The good news: that the rate of violence in the United States has DECREASED over the last few decades (mostly due to the decline in the percent of population of young men between the ages of 15 and 34, who are disproportionately more likely to commit violent acts)
- Historically, men had been attack victims more frequently than were women, but that gap has been narrowing over the last few decades. In fact, in the last five years, number of attacks on women may have surpassed number of attacks on men (but that difference is very small, and may be statistically insignificant)
- Men are just as likely to be attacked by a stranger as by someone they know
- Women are far more likely to be attacked by someone they know
- You learned decisive targets, and practiced strikes to some. Look at your handout package (download from this link) for the list. Memorize them. Or if you don’t have your handout package handy, you can review them all on this Self-Defense Targets page.
- You began practicing strikes to vulnerable (decisive) targets.
- To increase power, you can add these body mechanics:
- one foot forward, weight on the balls of your feet (your “bus rider” stance)
- keep your elbow close to your side
- push into the floor with the ball of your back foot
- rotate hips into your strike
- you want to go THROUGH the target, rather than merely strike the surface
- You began practicing aspects of body language that will make you a “harder” target. These include:
- back straight
- eyes forward (rather than down)
- shoulders back and down
- weight more on forwards, towards the balls of your feet
- degrees of eye contact
- not smiling
- You learned a bit about submissive and assertive body language and behavior. You can watch this short video to further your knowledge about what assailants are seeking, as well as the one below to practice open and expansive (i.e., assertive) body language
- You also practiced using your voice. Good words are direct commands:
- LET GO
- BACK OFF
- and others
You can listen to these audio lessons on using your voice from Free to Fight, a compilation CD and booklet on self-defense from the Riot Grrrl movement (you can find out more about the project on this Free To Fight page). The lessons are on Yelling, Making a Scene, and Assertiveness.
Men who attack women are NOT looking for a sparring partner, nor are they seeking a workout buddy. They are looking for someone they believe they can readily intimidate into silence and compliance. You can often evade an assault by assertive body language and voice. For a more complete review, read this Using Your Voice page.
For your pop quiz in Week 2, you need to know:
- 2 things every attacker needs
- 4 skill-sets you need for effective self-defense
- the decisive tagets
- 6 reasons to use your voice
- your one and only aim should you need to use your physical skills
These are all in the first few pages of your reading packet — read through and including the page titled Voice.
Amy Cuddy, a researcher at the Harvard Business School, presents on how your body language affects your sense of agency, and how that in turn affects others’ perceptions. This is crucial for effective self-defense!
- Amy Cuddy: Power Poses from PopTech on Vimeo.
Practice. Five minutes a day. This will make a LOT of difference. Practice your strikes, with the Power Drive Train and using your voice. Pratice the exercise Amy Cuddy recommends — can you incorporate some more open and expansive body language in your daily life? Is there a boundary that you’ve always wanted to set but didn’t? Plan out how you would do it!
Teach. Find a friend and teach her everything you learned. It will help you remember all the material, and it will deepen your understanding.
Observe. What are you carrying that can be used as a weapon? Keys? Cellphone? Pen? Book? Stuffed animal?
These questions will refresh what you learned in Session 1, so give it your best shot. Important note: you actually have to give an answer to every question in order to submit the form. So, after you finish this quiz, look for the “captcha” security code (right below the last question) and the Submit button (lower right).