I hope you had a good holiday season, and are now ready for this new year of 2024! Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions?

I spend a lot of time thinking about why people, especially women and girls, take self-defense classes. The most common reason, over the last 29 years I’ve been teaching, has been to keep safe against sexual assault. The past two years have seen a bit of a shift — women are becoming more concerned about street assault, and parents are worried about strangers trying to abduct their children. And not just because these incidents got headlines — more of us either have had these experiences directly, or we know others who have.

Since it’s still early January, it’s not too late to add another resolution, a “safety” resolution, to your list. Please pick one, or two, or any number you want.  Don’t limit yourself to just these, add others that may be more meaningful for you.

  • Resolve to be more aware of your immediate environment, rather than lost in thought.
  • Pay more attention to body language, both yours and others’. That gives more information about a person’s intent than does their words.
  • Set a few more boundaries, even if you are nervous.
  • Speak up for someone who’s being targeted, if it doesn’t put you in physical danger.
  • Watch out for your friends, neighbors, and family — community safety is your safety.
  • Sometimes you may need to be LOUD. Practice every so often.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that all these are covered in our classes.  And I’d be negligent if I failed to note that you can make similar new year’s resolutions any time of the year.  Decide what you need to change, discontinue activities and expenditures not getting you closer to your goals, and clear the way for new changes.

Stay safe, live life.