Ideas for SD demo for abused women

Discussion in 'Women's Self Defence' started by Remi Lessore, Jul 4, 2014.

  1. Remi Lessore

    Remi Lessore Valued Member

    Our school has been invited by a women's shelter to give a taster session/demo.
    We wanted to ask our most senior female student to do it. She is qualified but she cannot due to commitments and the shelter have accepted that a man step in, after consultation with their clients. So I am going.

    It is possible that some of these ladies are breaking away from the sex industry, and could have some very nasty people in mind when they train or view.

    I am quite confident of our syllabus, and I am already running a womens' SD class. I would not worry too much about doing this in a more general context. But given that all will have already suffered various degrees of violence, I am aware of the need for greater tact in this particular situation.

    The session is projected for about an hour with plenty of extra time for Q&A and 'what ifs?' . It is possible that should the centre like what we do we may be invited back. But I would like them to get something useful and usable whether or not they do. I am planning for a group of around 10.
    Does anyone out there have similar experiences?
    Any ideas for does and don'ts?

    Technically, and time-permitting, I intend to practice
    - defences against over-the-guard attacks i.e. hair/collar/throat attempted grabs and slaps;
    - hair/collar/throat grabs/pulls;
    - emergency knife defences - block-hit/kick-run and
    - pre-emptive hit/kick-run; (- all of which depend on the same instinctual flinch and upper angles of defence, i.e. raising the arm);
    - defences and counters when on the ground and the attacker is still standing - spinning on the backside to keep the feet towards the attacker,
    - stamping the load-bearing knee/groin.

    That's probably more than enough for an hour.

    I am wary of doing body-to-body ground-work as this involves getting up close and although I am told I am pretty non-threatening as men go, I fear that those scenarios could be too re-mindful of traumatic experiences for an intro session. And they are too technical for beginners unless that is all you do, IMO.

    Comments? Defences that would be more useful, in your opinions?
    (Useful advice, please. Anyone who just wants to say, 'don't do it,' please abstain.)
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2014
  2. Simon

    Simon Administrator Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    As you're in London I would forget the knife defence.

    The chances of facing a knife a slim to none and I'm of the opinion that given the time you have their natural instincts are enough here to keep them safe.

    I would also avoid any ground work. the skills required to get up from the ground when an attacker is on top of them cannot be gained in such a short time frame.

    If dealing with nervous women I would also avoid shin or groin kicks. They'll not have the commitment in one lesson to avoid just making things worse.

    In one hour I'd be looking to do an introduction, both to what you have to offer and also some common sense approaches to defence that they can take away and use.

    I like the wrist grab, clothing and hair grab/pull defences, but would also want the intended victim to be told to use their voice as a weapon too.

    I would spend a minimum of 30 minutes talking about common sense SD. Holding their keys before getting to the car, rather than getting to the car, then fumbling in their handbag for example.

    I would suggest this type of approach would build the client/instructor base much more than having them trying to escape a mount.
  3. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    Do you intend to cover Environmental Awareness? (e.g. Cooper's Coding) - if not I would put that in as a kick off

    I try and avoid specific scenarios when I teach SD and teach broad concepts instead, especially in limited duration ones
  4. philosoraptor

    philosoraptor carnivore in a top hat Supporter

    I'm not sure how much utility can be gained from an hour of hand to hand. :[
  5. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    I think that's too much material for an hour. I'd go with a few big wins and focus on them.

    Personally I'd look at what, if any, advice they get from the centre re abusive relationships and see where you can go from there in terms of situational awareness.

    I think you need to get a good understanding of their situations so you can make your work with them specific and relevant.

  6. Southpaw535

    Southpaw535 Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    There are far, far better qualified people on here than me to help you with this but my question is that you're doing this for abused women so what's the ultimate goal? Legitimate self defence skills, or empowerment as a way of helping them move on? If its the former then for a one off hour class I don't think I'd bother much with actual hands on skills at all and make close to it all about awareness etc etc. Maybe some stuff dealing with being grabbed and whatnot. If its the latter then I guess you have more wiggle room and it'd be more about showing stuff that, while still practical, makes them feel good about themselves and have a power angle to them. In which case I guess I'd put disarms in there since they're quite empowering over getting out of a wrist grab.
  7. holyheadjch

    holyheadjch Valued Member

    You can't teach them to defend themselves against a bigger, stronger opponent in an hour. I think the most benefit is going to come from self protection skills - not allowing yourself to end up in a position where you need to defend yourself. Obviously that's easier to do for street defence than it is for victims of domestic abuse, who are going to make up a big chunk of your audience.
  8. Remi Lessore

    Remi Lessore Valued Member

    Very helpful.
    I'll get in touch with the shelter for more details on the group, and the advice they give them.
    At the moment, and reading the email thread between my associate and the centre I'm expecting some fairly streetwise ladies who might already be mentally prepared for violence among others who are hiding from abusive partners.
    For both sets, awareness will be the key.
    Hard to practice in a classroom/meeting room setting, though.

    I think I'll narrow the technical content down to a wrist release and a straight punch to the neck/face from behind the flinch. Depending on the group, maybe a knee, since many women already know versions of this.
    The session is being billed to the women as a "taster". So I may end with demonstrating stuff we could cover subsequently.

    I am in France for an FEKM course in Annecy for the next week. As France is not always the advanced country it likes to think, I might not have internet reception at the foot of the Alps so please don't think I'm ignoring you if I disappear for a few days.
    I will be taking your comments and any further ones into account when I go to the women's group, the week after next.

    Thanks for your advice. Further ideas would be welcome.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2014
  9. Simon

    Simon Administrator Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    I'd like to hear the opinion of others, but I wouldn't be comfortable teaching women to punch an attacker in the face. I think open palm techniques are better.

    I tell my students when we do self defence, "never underestimate a slap or open palm".

    Many who teach self defence avoid using closed fist attacks due to the risk of damaging the hand. Combine that with the lack of power an untrained person generates and I think there is the potential to escalate a situation, especially as we're dealing with abuse, where an attack is likely to go from bad to worse if you just aggravate the aggressor.
  10. Remi Lessore

    Remi Lessore Valued Member


    Yes. When I say punching, I include palm heel in that. I mean strike. Also holding keys or pen/pencil since the gross motor skill is broadly the same.
  11. Simon

    Simon Administrator Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    I don't want to come across as ripping your plan to bits, but I'm really uncomfortable with pen attacks.

    Not all aggressors are the same and for me the risk of escalating the attack is massive and not worth taking.

    If I'm in an altercation with a guy and he strikes me with a pen I very much doubt it'll do much more than aggravate the situation.

    Now make that situation one where the aggressor is either already hitting, or extremely likely to hit and you have a pot waiting to boil over.

    Are these women victims of physical violence, as abuse comes in all shapes and sizes. Maybe it's verbal or psychological abuse.
  12. Remi Lessore

    Remi Lessore Valued Member

    plans and abuse

    Don't worry about ripping up my plans. They are still fluid.

    These women are in a shelter, as far as I know, so it would be physical abuse they are hiding from, as I do not know of anyone who gets taken into these places for verbal. At least, we never referred anyone for that reason and the only ones who asked for shelters were running for safety. I am not sure about the criteria the centres use, strangely enough as no one we ever referred was refused.

    I show pens and other objects to my women's group once I get to know them, as an example of instant arming. Repeated strikes with a pen in the neck/face, I think would discourage an attacker but I make it clear that this is probably GBH or worse and they need to be prepared to answer for their actions (this is with the regular women's class I already teach.)

    For women hiding from pimps or battering partners, if these men catch up with them, I suspect that we are already in extreme measures which are escalating out of control.
    I will take advice from the centre.

    I was reflecting on the palm-heel/slap vs. punch. I understand that punching with the fist to the face is dangerous for the hand, but I also doubt whether beginners can generate enough decisive energy with a slap unless you catch the point of the chin or hinge of the jaw or temple and already know how to apply force. Or you are wiellding a snooker ball in a sock, which I don't teach.

    We do not do hook much for beginners in the FEKM. Also a bit fine under the circumstances. And good hook-slap is also easy to flinch from and block, don't you think.

    There is a straight punch with the fist to the neck/throat. What do you think?
    NB. we are talking about stunning to escape, and not winning a fight.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2014
  13. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member


    Who are you doing this in conjunction with?

    Don't take this the wrong way but are they relying on you to know what is appropriate for these women? Or will they give you some assistance and knowledge if needed as far as dealing with domestic abuse?

    It's a very big and complex area, even just dealing with something like triggers may mean you have to be very careful about how you structure your class and the support on offer for those taking it.
  14. Simon

    Simon Administrator Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    An abuse victim isn't used to fighting back. They are programmed over a period of time to take the subservient role.

    I just wonder if you could get an abuse victim to throw a punch of any worth.

    I've seen how hard it is under pressure for a trained martial artists.

    I also feel that if you're giving a lecture/lesson you need to know where these women stand legally if they fight back and use a weapon (pen).
  15. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

    Abuse survivor is probably better terminology.
  16. Simon

    Simon Administrator Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    Thank you and noted.

    Remi, see how easy it is to say the wrong thing in these situations?
  17. Remi Lessore

    Remi Lessore Valued Member

    Further to my last,
    given all the time of a course, we could cover these things at a normal pace.
    I'm just wondering where to start in a 'taster'.
  18. holyheadjch

    holyheadjch Valued Member

    The existing abuse angle adds so much complexity I'm not sure I'd want the responsibility. I'm starting to feel its impossible to teach in a group setting. Every woman will have had different experience with violence and they'll all have different triggers. There's a very strong possibility you'll cause real distress to some of these women that outweighs any benefit the others are going to reap.
  19. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

    Cooper code is a good place to start, IMO, it's pro active, positive and leans towards the empowerment end of the spectrum from the get go.

    Also keep in mind you are an unknown for them and in some ways you will be asking them to share some rather personal aspects of themselves. That's a big ask.
  20. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    Palm heel removes the wrist as a point of failure in the technique.

    In all honesty, and regardless of the context of working with abuse survivors, I've found it difficult, within an hour's training, just getting women to consistently employ straight, piston style strikes rather than resorting to downward strikes from a flexing elbow (like speedbag work in boxing), especially under pressure.


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