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At the heart of self-defense lies our ability to effectively communicate (and sometimes enforce) our personal boundaries. I’d always wanted to take a self-defense class, so when the opportunity randomly showed up in my Meetup feed, I knew it was my chance to add some new skills to my self-care toolbox.
Setting boundaries–and in extreme cases, physically defending ourselves–is a must when it comes to self-care.
All too often, victims freeze up or feel helpless when threatening situations arise unexpectedly. I know because I once watched someone key my car while I was still sitting inside it. I guess they thought I had parked too close (even though I hadn’t even attempted to open my door yet), but I was too stunned to react at all. Granted, I probably made the right call since parking lot confrontations rarely end well, but it made me realize that it’s something I needed to address. I needed to be sure that I would have the confidence to respond boldly if I ever needed to.
It’s easy to get complacent, adopting the “it will never happen to me” mindset. Feeling safe in our familiar surroundings makes us forget to be cautious when we venture into unfamiliar places. Couple that with the fact that many assaults involve an acquaintance, and the statistics begin to look grim.
I know the tone here is somewhat pessimistic, but that’s on purpose. The whole point of self-defense is to expect the unexpected–and to be prepared for situations you hope you never have to be in.
Sometimes we can effectively create boundaries simply by verbalizing our needs and expectations clearly, but other times we must physically communicate our boundaries.
This class was exactly what I needed, and while I know that these new skills will not equip me for every situation I may face, it has at least made me feel like I have the ability to do something to protect myself. (I accidentally whacked the instructor during class, so at least I know I have it in me.)
If you’re considering taking a class on self-defense, the City of Portland has some great tips on how to choose a class that’s right for you.