PO Box 29
Athens, OH 45701
Ideas for learning together some self defense.
Find some place where you can’t be heard, and scream as loud as you can - in a car maybe, driving around. Get some other girls (or girls and boys and trannies) and scream with them - scream noises and scream no and scream leave me the fuck alone. You can do this in the car or in an auditorium or garage or house or where ever. Talk about the fear and shame of being heard. Of having to practice this. The triggering fear of loud voices and how you swore when you were a kid you would never yell because of how your dad did. Or the triggering fear of worrying that if you start screaming you will never stop. Or the self hate because your voice just won’t do it. Or how this feels so stupid. Or you feel so stupid. How you are afraid you will be the weakest one of all. Talk about how we are taught to keep quiet, and why. And why the power structures are committed to keeping women quiet. and the sentence, I can’t remember who wrote it. “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would explode.”
Make a list of the things we’ve been told that women should do to protect themselves (things you might not agree with). Talk about it. Make a list of what self defense means to you. compare the two lists. Talk about how and why our movement is limited in this world. Talk about our right to be active, to take up space, to defend ourselves.
Stretch. Show each other different stretches you know. Learn the fighting stance. You stand with one foot slightly in front of the other, knees slightly bent, fists up, but not in front of your face, just up near your sides. Feel your energy going into the ground. Feel yourself firmly planted and how difficult it would be for someone to push you around. Practice this at home too, until it becomes second nature. See how different it is to have a friend try to push you over when you’re in fighting stance compared to when you’re not. (Pick nice friends, not people who are trying to prove that you can’t actually defend yourself)
Talk about boundaries. Physical and emotional boundaries. How do we set them? How do we even know what our boundaries are. What has kept us from knowing?
Check out self defense books from the library and teach each other self defense moves. Wrist releases, punches, blocks, palm strikes. Talk about what is stupid about the book if it’s a stupid one, but don’t let it stop you from learning the moves (or try to find a better book. I haven’t found any really perfect ones yet). If you want some tips on making hand held punching bags, let me know, but a good pillow works all right too.
There is a fundamental idea in self defense “what is free and what is open” meaning - what part of you can you fight back with (like, if your hands are immobilized, you still can use your knee and your foot) and what part of them is vulnerable (their knee caps? their eyes?) If you practice thinking about what is free and what is open, it can help you to not panic as much if someone attacks you. It can help you see your options. It can help you remember that you can fight.
talk about what you would do in different situations. How far are you willing to go to defend yourself? If you jab your fingers really hard into an attackers eyes, could it blind him? (in real life, it won’t, but we think it might, don’t we?) In what situation would you be willing to blind somebody? In what situation would you be willing to take a handful of broken glass and grind it into his eyes? In what situation would you jab a pen (or keys) into his ear? Personally, I don’t like thinking about this, but if you think about it, talk about it, decide when you would use these techniques, it will help them be open to you, and you won’t have to be struggling as much with trying to make these kinds of decisions if you are ever in a situation where you might have to.
There are a million more things. This is just a start.