Ideas for SD demo for abused women

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

  1. 47MartialMan

    47MartialMan Valued Member

    Agreed. And most are seeking out professional help. Somewhere , as I somewhat stated, some look for a area of vendetta, whereas other look for a redemption via exerting/practicing violent methods. Just as some are seeking to be more prepared.

    Agree. But I would like to add; being mentally/emotionally and physically prepared for violence is not a "Guarantee Shield of Defense"

    That said, yeah, the first step is to recognize the need to be "violent" as the attacker

    After many, many sessions of SD on a non-physical scale, on the advanced physical side, we always paired men with women and made sure the men weren't too "gentlemen" (Not to be taken as too hardcore)

    In the physical sessions;

    Victims seem to either;

    * Remain in a emotional state
    That is, they cannot seem to focus because their mental scars are far worse

    * Get more aggressive, revengeful, to whereas they make many mistakes performing

    At certain times, we had to actually create three separate classes because of this
  2. Southpaw535

    Southpaw535 Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    I would assume, or hope in any case, that it has less to do with giving these women a cure-all solution and more about giving them some basic help yes, but more importantly building their confidence and self-esteem. I can see the benefits in taking a person who's gone from a position of powerlessness, especially in physical abuse, and getting them to do SD type things. Its a case of making them feel more in control of their environment. That would be my reasons for providing this sort of experience for them in any case.

    As far as content, women tend to find it hard to do the same type of training as men. I have no idea why, I assume it has something to do with self consciousness in a majorly male dominated environment. But anyway, have you ever seen a woman go to a proper striking class and try to throw a punch? Yeah. Its not great. Ignoring the punching itself there's usually a lot of giggling and a lot of clearly feeling awkward. In a normal gym that's something you put up with and wait for them to get over it but in a seminar you can't do that so tailoring the content is just a better solution.

    Its not much different than tailoring SD skills for different fighters. For instance Tony Blauer has a video where he shows his SPEAR system's reflex defence and then explains how you can then use different techniques depending on your style. Same thing. He could get a wrestler and try to to teach him to punch off of it, or he could accept he's working with a wrestler and play to their strengths and, more importantly, instincts and let him use it to shoot. Those are compromises that have to be made with this stuff. In fact I'd have far more issues with any SD instructor who didn't compromise.

    And finally, obvioulsy as far as practical skills go these ladies would be better off heading down to a thai boxing gym or something. And I would presume that's something that will be mentioned at the end of the course. But that A. assumes that the goal of this whole thing is to turn them into fighters which I don't think it is unless the organizers are stupid, and B assumes that abuse victims will be comfortable going to a class. I'm quite certain one wouldn't walk into my gym and train in a predominantly male class full of guys, some with the typical skinhead, tattoo, cage fighter look going on, all hitting pads and fighting each other. I could see that being stressful for someone with a history of abuse.
  3. 47MartialMan

    47MartialMan Valued Member

    Somewhat agree. Sometimes it is to vent off hostility and anger. There was one women in one of the sessions, who was so angry about hitting hard or doing anything hard-strong, because she kept having visions of her abuser/attacker. It should be known, that false confidence and over projected self esteem could be a problem.

    I do not completely agree. I wouldn't give this generalization to all women. I believe that with the proper trainer and time, women can strike rather well. The women in our kick boxing class of the early 80's (long before females in MMA and the cardio kick box junk) were tough. They did not mind getting hit. And when they did their drills, they had the fighter's giggles. (Perhaps a slight smile when they knock stars in your eyes)

    Somewhat agree

    But is a SD curriculum destined to be one to create fighters?
  4. Southpaw535

    Southpaw535 Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    Of course but I would assume there would be some discussion about how a seminar or short course is only that and how they're not Bruce Lee. I might be being too stereotypical when I presume that women in an abuse shelter would naturally be introverted and unsure of themselves.

    Oh no definitely not to all women. The couple who made it to the pro mma class and some of the boxers I know are high up on the list of people I don't want to annoy. But they are the exceptions. And of course with proper training and time they all get over that initial stage of awkwardness but we're not talking about a long term committed course here. It was an example of why altering approaches for different audiences isn't negative and if anything is arguably a necessity.

    It depends. I would agree with others who say that if you have to fight then you've already failed most of what SD is about, but that isn't to say that you shouldn't be able to have those skills to fall back on either. I don't feel the point of this course is to create fighters though. Course the couple times I've asked what the over arching purpose of all this is I've been ignored so I can't tell you for sure :p
  5. Remi Lessore

    Remi Lessore Valued Member

    Advice from Adrastia

    A lot has happened in a week.
    Adrastia and I have corresponded by email and she has offered a lot of advice.
    I will post some of it here, with her permission. She herself is incredibly modest and did not seem to think people would still be interested.

    Hi Remi
    Here are some thoughts that occur to me whenever MA teachers/artists (mostly men) post/discuss plans for SD4W classes:

    • they see SD as primarily driven by physical techniques
    • Techniques begin at the moment of actual forceful contact (or just before)
    • The assailant is a stranger, intensely aggressive (verbally and physically)
    (what Rory miller calls an ‘asocial’ predator), efficient, not much emotion.

    All of these assumptions are irrelevant to the vast majority of violence women/girls face/

    ‘Social’ predators are far more prevalent . Their primary ‘technique’ is verbal
    (see Gavin de Becker) and interactive: manipulation thru language and holding women to deeply socialized patterns of ‘appropriate behavior. Assailant (A) uses these social interactions to achieve several goals: use existing social pressures to make the target (T) feel obligated to do what the A wants : (have a conversation, come inside, talk on the phone, agree to meet where he wants to meet, get in an argument, be physically closer to T etc. whatever he wants for as long as he wants).

    Women who refuse to participate in these social/verbal exchanges are subjected to
    more Verbal manipulation/intimidation, threats: “why are you so mean, I just want to talk; you really hurt me; why can’t I see you?; hey, I’ve changed; give me another chance). Sometimes these are combined with actual physical attempts to kiss or hug, or also shove or hit.

    Abusers will cycle through all kinds of behaviors – whatever has worked in the past.
    Their goal is to keep the T accessible and more worried about her own behavior (am I being a mean bitch?, bad wife? Ugly woman? Unfeminine? Selfish?).

    Over the last 5-10 years some MAs have begun discussing ‘mind-set’ of women in unsafe/violent situations, but are mostly puzzled and worried. They find women’s ‘mind-set’ confusing or incomprehensible. This socialization is either invisible or harmless (agreeable, pleasant women are nice to be around). Because these men are seldom violentl or dangerously manipulative, its hard to see how being accommodating poses a dangerous behavior for many women.

    Changing this ‘mind-set’ is an enormous challenge and feels deeply disorienting to women who have been socialized since birth to accommodate intrusive behavior.
    Women who have been assaulted have even more reinforcing trauma – to accommodate what the A wants..

    Combining learning real, forceful physical techniques re-inforces changes in self-image and breaks the mind-set but without learning to tolerate the discomfort/pain of changing mental habits that have been socialized for years, its very difficult.

    I don’t review all this w/women in classes. But this shapes how I organize classes, I do talk a little about this (manipulation) and acknowledge how hard changing our behavior can be. It is very hard to face that we want to go along with A because we have been socialized to believe that this deference-accomodation will work.

    SO. I work on voice (this is really a technique as powerful as any). Not just a BIG voice, but firm, deep, consistent: NO you can’t come in. This means working on breath, posture, facial expression, stance.

    I work on techniques for disrupting conversation scipts: noticing and refusing to engage in arguments, staying aloof from provocative accusations; very physical ways to stay calm, breathing. I have the women write out and practice what to say and do when the A works to ‘hook’ them into those conversational patterns. _That_ is a ‘scenario’ training that is very challenging for the women.

    I make sure that we have simple physical techniques (palm heel) combined with voice) and getting to safety – escape as a goal. DO not allow A to get you to an isolated, private space at anytime. Keep distance – insist on public spaces. We accomplish these goals through assertive language and assertive physical behavior.

    Practice – physically - how to NOT let him into the house/apt.Where to stand, how to make your voice work. (write a script that you repeat over and over. And calli LE if necessary). Practice ending a cell phone call. Practice getting a different number and refusing to give it to him. Practice behaving differently.

    All of these often infuriate the A – how to they make themselves ready for that?
    (more threats, need to be prepared for A to act more violently).

    So – in a first class – low key introductions, positive recognition of them ,brief explanation of how manipulation and physical threat work. Ask what they already DO and Say to increase safety. Have one of the women write these big where everyone can see. Combine similar suggestions. LET THE WOMEN EVALUATE THESE. Don’t challenge or contradict them. If necessary ask : ‘ how – when would you do X? how would X work for you?

    Move to standing. Loosen up, Practice deeper breathing from belly (hand on belly button)

    Explain why voice counts. Practice bigger, deeper, stronger voice. Practice a key word or phrase (NO. BACK OFF) as a group, then 2-3 together, then individ if they are OK. Work on this for 10 minutes.

    IF TIME IS OK Demo good targets on men (not chest, upper arms): under nose, under chin, temple, throat, eyes. Show basic palm heel (or youcan do correct hammer fist, thumb outside, strike surface is not knuckles, is outer muscles)

    Ask them Pick 2-3 new things to do, role play if you have time. Ask how they will
    Use them in their daily lives. Ask them to make verbal, out-loud commitment to do
    X – Y – Z over the next 5 days.

    Congratulate them on participating, express your respect.
    Finish with BIG group voices, Ask 1 or 2 women to pick a word, phrase for the whole group to Yell (not scream, screaming is high, shrill, hard to maintain).

    Make friendly, brief eye contact w/each. Now is time for Q – if OK. Do not get stuck in complex ‘what if’… say – we could cover that in another session. Or say – that’s complicated, always put your safety first – what do you do in that situation?

    END POSITIVE and CALM. Do not linger endlessly. Follow up w/Louise or appropriate staff with thanks and ask them for feedback. Offer positive feedback..

    Have someone to talk to for _your_ debriefing and after action Review. Keep the privacy promise you made at the beginning. Do not discuss or name individual women. Talk more about yourself and your own observations of what went well or not-so-well. Make notes ASAP.

    Whew…… that’s a lot! what do you think so far?
    w/respect A
  6. 47MartialMan

    47MartialMan Valued Member

    I think you are missing the main point:

    Do not look to do a demo with a typical (atypical?) martial art mindset
  7. philosoraptor

    philosoraptor carnivore in a top hat Supporter

    Damn, Adrastia with the best advice ever! You should be more confident in posting here, that's an incredible write up.
  8. Remi Lessore

    Remi Lessore Valued Member

    Lesson Plan

    After a few more emails, and taking Adrastia's advice I formulated the following plan for the session (approved by her - except for the time factor. The plan was too busy for a one hour slot. In the end the centre gave us 90 minutes):

    Pre-session meeting.

    Are any staff going to participate in the class?
    This could help me build rapport with them.

    5 minutes (will there be a visible clock in the space we use?)
    As they know each other I will not do a normal ice-breaker. The ones I used to use in school often involve proximity and revealing something about themselves. As they know each other this is not useful for them. They need to get to know me and begin to trust me. Furthermore, as I was a member of the police in the that area, there is the chance that someone may know me or repeat my name to someone who does (Remi is unusual). The women could then be left the impression that I had not been honest with them.

    SELF INTRO & female student

    So, as the ice-breaker, since I am the newcomer, I will introduce myself (51 y.o., ex fire-fighter, ex-police officer, R.E. teacher, teacher of excluded and mainstream kids, Krav Maga instructor, 8 of my own kids with the wife to whom I have been married 28 years – I might mention she is African – I am half French and fluent, and own of a dog that hates squirrels and foxes). There is enough about me that can make people smile.

    If they do not warm to me that is preferable to them thinking I am there as some sort of police snitch which is what could happen if I cover up that part. In fact it did happen in one of the schools I moonlighted in for extra money while I was a police officer and the result was disastrous. It took a couple of weeks to calm the kids down. I prefer to be up front about it.

    5 minutes: I will ask the ladies their names. Congratulate them for being there. I will point out that while I do not know any of their histories, that there is a total commitment on my part to silence about anything I may discover during this session or others.

    Get away card:
    Tell them, if for any reason (even just being tired or bored) anyone does not want to join, or wants to leave they can step out at any time, Talk with Pam., take a breather, go to the toilet, have a drink of water, or just observe everyone else until they feel they want to rejoin – or not.
    No pressure, no obligation.
    I will remind them of this whenever we change activity.

    5 minutes:
    Point out the SD is not to teach them to fight with a man, but to be safe “Self Defence” in this context is better termed “Self-Protection”.

    Get away card:
    First of all, can someone tell me what it is to be safe?
    Write answers.

    Do you think that this is achievable?
    10 minutes
    They already know how to be safe even if it is sometimes difficult to achieve.
    So… from whom do we need to protect ourselves?

    I will write 'gangs', because I live in a part of London where my own children are at risk from gang violence and stabbings. Also, many of the kids I used to teach are at real everyday risk of stabbings and beatings.

    Who else? … …. …

    (Could one of them write on the board? I do not want to put anyone on the spot regarding literacy, but it would be a small sign of their own empowerment and involvement in their own protection if one of them can do the writing. If not, I can or my brother can.

    Give me examples of how, what you do… no right and wrong, just what do you think?

    Write on flip chart…

    All good.
    We will return to some of these later (some will have said, avoiding contact with the dangerous person, avoiding being alone with him… If they do not, I can lead them to that with questions) - .

    Things that will come up:

    Best safety choices: avoid/leave places where threatening person is present.

    Avoid/leave places where people are angry, drinking, arguing. Leave immediately.

    Include planning the escape route. This is nothing out of the ordinary. Whenever I go into a pub, park in a car park, etc. I always look for the best way out.

    Extend the idea of avoiding contact into not engaging in manipulation, which is just undesirable contact at another level.

    10 minutes:
    Voice. Deep not shrill.
    Speak with belly and chest.

    Show difference between challenge and firmness (- in 7 years in the police I never walked away from a fight, even when I was ridiculously outnumbered, and never hit anyone either) – I always got what I wanted and I am not big, or intimidating. And in England we don’t have guns (I say this for Adrastia's benefit).
    But I was prepared for violence.

    There are ways of presenting yourself that discourage violence.

    Get away card:

    Practice big voice.

    Stand and breathe in a circle, hand on belly, deep inhale, blow out then transition to word (NO) slowly get louder.

    Big voice also can be used to get help. Give specific 'help' commands: "You! call the police now! "

    Paired work

    Choose a word/phrase. Practice with your partner. One will ask something. E.g. “Can I sit here?” “May I come in?” “I want to talk?” “Don’t be mean/selfish… Think of the kids…”
    It is not convenient for you. Or you know it is downright dangerous, so you refuse.
    Practice NO with your belly. Let your partner tell you when you are convincing.

    Those who want show the rest of the group.
    But for this to work, and in case it does not work, you have to be ready for the next step.

    Get away card:
    5 minutes:
    Demonstrate with student.

    Fence. Demonstrate. Warn firmly once. “No/Back off/Go away/ I’m calling the police.” Or a phrase of your choice. In the firm voice you had before.

    When he forces his way into the fence again strike hard, fast and escape.
    Different angles…

    Explain: If he has walked into your guard twice, in spite of warnings, it means that he is prepared to not respect your space, your physical integrity. This is going to become violent. Do not negotiate. Get out and take the means to escape.

    In order to get out, strike hard, fast, decisively
    Julius Caesar said, “If you want peace, prepare for war.” I can tell you from experience that this is true. If you are prepared for war, you usually do not have to wage war. But you might.

    Show where to strike and how. And escape.

    Get away card:
    10 minutes
    Practice. – All facing me.
    With voice
    Practice with partner. Role play. With voice.
    Practice on pads. With voice.

    OK. But you are not bitter or angry people. Being concerned for you safety does not define you. It is something you need. So do I. Like shopping for food, caring for my kids, doing the things that life demands.
    Finish with group yell - BIG VOICE. Make circle, ask them to look at each person smile, turn to left and then right and congratulate partners. Do big breathing. Have all sit down.

    Get away card:
    5 minutes
    Write: what safety activities they will keep doing and what they will add that's new. Who can read what you have written.

    Thanks. Well done.

    5 minutes
    Announce that these activities can raise issues- or a buzz over the next couple of days.
    Remind them to protect each other's privacy and talk to staff if they need to.

    I will praise all for their participation and commitment to their own safety and to the confidentiality of whatever else has arisen.

    No more than 5 minutes.

    It is best that they digest this deliberately limited content rather than raise a lot of further problems which might be dealt with subsequently.

    Post session.

    I will write my own evaluation of the session, but I would like to hear from the centre as to staff impression and any comments that the women make subsequently.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2014
  9. Simon

    Simon Administrator Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    Everyday risk of stabbings?

    I thought knife and indeed all violent crime was on the way down.

    I would leave this gig well alone and ask Adrastia to do it.

    I applaud you for taking further information on board, but at this stage that is all it is. Memorising what has been written on the blackboard, rather than completely understanding the subject matter.

    First question from the gathered few may be, "what is your area of expertise in this field" and you'll not be able to answer.

    Genuine question: Is this more about adding to your CV, making some money, or because you genuinely feel you can add something of worth to these ladies?
  10. Simon

    Simon Administrator Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    In terms of knowing your subject I'd like to pick up on the "everyday risk of stabbing" quote.

    In Peckham, South East London there were 113 crimes reported in May 2014.

    The local policing priorities for that area are:

    • Burglary
    • Robbery - personal property
    • Theft - from motor vehicles

    The Police UK website makes no mention that Peckham is a no go area due to knife crime.

    I really do think knowing your subject matter is essential.

    I'm not looking to draw this into a "you are wrong", or "you're making up stats" argument, but I am pointing out that without a solid foundation to back up your teaching you could be making things worse, both for the members of the lesson and your reputation.
  11. Adrastia

    Adrastia Valued Member

    Very ordinary women are in my classes and here. No MMA fighters. The purpose for me (can't speak for Remi) is to begin to help the women change behaviors in the direction of greater safety and to add some basic verbal/physical techniques and strategies for immediate crisis situations focused on fast response-getting away-getting to safety. Not winning a fight.

    Southpaw - thanks for your comments. i hope I made sense here.
    w/respect A
  12. 47MartialMan

    47MartialMan Valued Member

    As I have been politely saying from a few of my posts.

    I do not agree with a person who formulates their own SD, particularly in a "specialized field" without some other knowledge. (Apart from merely reading or gathering internet information)

    I always maintain and will continue to do so, that martial arts is not the paramount area to conduct such courses/classes

    What makes me cringe more (as well as drive me bonkers) are those people who think their martial art background is all that is required

    Even worse, to seek out ideas or information from a forum to also be used inaccurately to "create" a class/course/curriculum

    I think someone should "abandoned" this "idea" and study other areas for a period of time before even considering and long before implementing such
  13. Remi Lessore

    Remi Lessore Valued Member

    stats and knowing what we are talking about

    I would refer you to Mark Twain quoting Disraeli on statistics.
    And it bothers me a bit that you seem insinuate that I do not know what talking about or someone who is just taking advantage of a situation.
    I mentioned stabbing because it is the most evocative and of aspects of youth violence. These kids have all sorts of other methods of meeting out punishment, from beatings, to attacks with sticks, etc. There is a chilling number of wooden fence pickets missing when you walk through Burgess Park.


    'Camilla Batmanghelidjh, the founder of youth charity Kids Company, also said knife crime levels in London remained very high. “We do not see any signs that the violence among young people on the street is going down.

    "I expect the numbers of young people being injured is probably more than these figures show. Most young people do not turn up to medical services once they have been stabbed. Their anxiety is that police will be called and they will be identified.”

    She said her charity used metal detecting knife arches to stop young people bringing knives onto their premises but staff found they were hiding weapons outside. “Our staff do a trawl of places outside and we continue to pick up a lot of knives. On the last count we had five in one week.” '
    The KIDS COMPANY is based not far from where I live.

    Of the 113 crimes reported in Peckham in May... The demographic of youths getting stabbed is notoriously difficult to involve in reporting crime. You don't snitch. It's a matter of morals and survival. So even though knife crime statistics indicate that this crime is on it's way down, that is not an accurate indication of the actual risk in that demographic.

    While the overall chance of a Londoner of being stabbed is very low, as the vast majority of the stabbings occur in a very narrow demographic - mainly youths, and a few domestic situations (also very difficult to get to report) - when you are dealing with those groups, as I did when teaching and later when policing, the chances of being stabbed are much higher than in the general population and the chances of knowing someone close who has been stabbed are very high. In any given class of 15 in a PRU, all will know people who have been stabbed.
    I know this because being told before registration that so-and-so would be late because he had been stabbed was not uncommon. It happened two or three times in my memory.
    Did I say it was a high risk? No. But it was a real risk.

    Last anecdote: three years ago a teacher told me about her friend's experience in a school (not a sink school). Break patrol and checking the male toilets, he found that every sink was being used to wash a knife. That does not mean that they were all involved in stabbing. They were all almost certainly showing off. They wanted the others to think that they were gangsters. But with that prevalence of knife possession, I would say that all in that school were in some danger of stabbing on that day.

    Furthermore, I have not taught in schools since 2011. So even the statistical spike was very high when I was teaching. So YES the kids I taught were at everyday risk of stabbing. If you know different, please tell me why I, Camilla, and any number of others with actual experience in this area disagree with you.

    A further point about the PRU system (Pupil Referral Units) which does not enter into statistics is that they are borough-based whereas the gangs are neighbourhood based and very parochial. This means that in any given class a proportion of the kids will be from some distance away and will have to travel through areas of other kids' grounds. So among the kids at the PRU who are themselves at a much higher risk than the general public, these particular kids are at an even higher risk.

    I did consider asking Adrastia to run the class and ask to shadow her. But she lives several thousand miles away. If someone else from MAP had said they had experience and offered realistic advice for this group, I would have considered the same thing (and still would). But no-one has.

    In fact until she answered it did seem to me that no-one else had more experience than me of this demographic - albeit not in this context, hence my asking for advice.

    Why do you think I would not be able to answer a question on my expertise in this area? This is a matter of integrity.
    I already have when I introduced myself to the Centre (who came looking for us - it was not telesales). I also told them that I was taking advice from someone with far more experience in America. They appreciated how candid I was. They still wanted me to run the session.

    Making money? - do you think these centres are floating in cash? No. But I do want to earn a living honourably. Do you know me well enough to cast aspersions?

    My CV? Difficult, because I am easy to find and this Centre needs to be discrete. But perhaps I will get a testimonial from them, if I do a good job. Would they be wrong to write it?

    Quality of life. Come to my classes. Ask my students what kind of person I am. I am not Mother Theresa. But do I care for them? Yes. Can peoples' quality of life be enhanced by learning to defend themselves? I hope so.
    Can these women's quality of life be enhanced by learning to
    1. Avoid danger,
    2. Deal with it when it arises by being assertive and planning escape tactics.
    3. Put up a fight when their integrity is in clear danger.

    Last edited: Jul 16, 2014
  14. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter


    You may find this group of interest:

    The ED data is one of the best sources for accurate injury causing violent crime statistics. I've found Professor Shepherd to be exceptionally helpful in providing information and sources.

    If you do go through the Home Office sites you will find a number of papers that focus on knife crime, the existing prevention strategies in communities, the level of success etc. It's also important to bear in mind that the BCS (and related studies) look not only at reported crime but on perceptions of crime.

    If you haven't done so already, please buy, read and absorb at least one of De Becker's books (mentioned above). I think the most pertinent in this context is 'Protecting the Gift'. Realistically you should also have a sound working knowledge of George Thompson's work and underpinning psychological/physiological research (to put things in context) by people such as Asken, Siddle and Grossman.

    John Titchen
  15. Remi Lessore

    Remi Lessore Valued Member


    Thanks John,

    That survey makes fascinating reading.

    Note however, that it does not really address my comment to Simon.
    I started teaching in 1999, so my period was during the drop in violent crime. (I can't take the credit.) All I can say is that if the risks are very real now, they must have been diabolical. Furthermore, I was talking about a particular demographic. The stats run from 11 to 17 then 18 to 30. The really dangerous age is 14 to 25. Before kids are not so involved in perpetrating violent crime (though some are) after 25 the survivors tend to have calmed down.
    So although the stats confirm that young males are the most at risk, the numbers are diluted by younger and older margins at the ends of each category.
    If they were specifically for 14 to 25s the picture would be much worse.

    Also, I was talking about a particular section of the 14+ youths. - those in Pupil Referral Units and Learning Support Units and similar establishments.
    It would be very difficult to compile those stats because many of these kids are still officially on the rolls of the schools that sent them there. This is a way of not officially excluding them, yet keeping them out of the way. Many of these are the gang members, the perpetrators and victims of knife crime and other violence. Though they would never admit it in a survey.

    So considering that a disproportionate slice of the national statistic of victims of violence emanates from this particular group I think it would be still fair to say that they are at risk. However, unless the Dentistry survey addresses this somewhere I have not looked, we still do not know how much at risk these kids really are, apart from listening to people who work with them - and even that is fraught, because while people speak freely to each other, few want to tell strangers that their school or neighbourhood is bad.

    I am ordering the book "Protecting the Gift".
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2014
  16. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    Hi Remi

    Some of the stuff in docs like this:

    and the TKAP

    may be of use.

    From my perspective I focus less on 'numbers' than on patterns and behaviours/lifestyle factors that can be changed to reduce risk based on data providing greater insights into risk.

    George Thompson's book on Verbal Judo can be excellent for the soft skills side of diverting threats.

  17. Remi Lessore

    Remi Lessore Valued Member


    To you and Simon and others who are giving the thumbs up to your posts, and who clearly think I should not be getting involved in this....
    Scott Peck says in "The Road Less Travelled" that a relatively unqualified counsellor who listens and speaks with love is more use to a client than highly qualified psychologists and psychiatrists.
    I agree with him.
    What I mean by 'love' in this context - SD for vulnerable women - is a genuine care for their welfare.
    I may not be the most qualified person. However, what qualifications I do have extend far beyond martial arts. My practical experience of women aho have been assaulted by their partners (and some men); and other vulnerable people, be they school kids, the mentally ill, people with dementia, the physically disabled, etc. is quite extensive, and clearly more-so than most other people who have been posting.
    I also have experience of dealing with the criminally-minded who would harm these people.

    So when someone gets in touch asking for help, which I think I can give but am not sure of all the parameters I ask for advice.

    The alternative is to say I cannot and to leave them without the help for which they are asking. Then what? What are the courses, qualifications etc that would help more than experience? These courses, if they are out there would be given by people with my sort of experience who have managed to schematic what they know.

    Who else is stepping up to help?

    I asked Adrastia what her qualifications were. She can answer for herself, but my understanding from her was that her knowledge was practical and experiential rather than academic. She did suggest reading, as have Hannibal and JWT above. I will follow her advice and theirs. The summer break is coming and I will have more time to read.

    Adrastia's advice to me for this 'taster' session, which I have posted, was essentially practical. Do this, do that, do not neglect this... What she said needs thinking about to include in the session, but it is not difficult. What is difficult is allowing very simple things which show care for the client group and consideration for their practical needs to form an essential part of the class, whereas they might otherwise have been peripheral.

    The session at the Centre took place this week and went well. There are positives and negatives in what happened, but mainly positive. I would like to talk about them here for the benefit of others who might venture into this field, or who are simply curious. If you have irrevocably made up your mind that it is a bad idea, what more can we say to each other? We need to agree to differ and move on.

    Adrastia has asked me to post about the women rather than teenagers and stabbings.
    I agree.
    I really do not want to get sidetracked into proving knowledge I do have (regarding teens), or justifying why I should help people who have asked for help to those of you who seem to have less experience than me in this field, and who certainly have less experience than Adrastia.
    The Centre manager and social worker are not irresponsible. They would not allow me to come in and harm the women. The women themselves are not daft and I dare to hope that neither am I. And Adrastia is not.

    So depending on the responses I get to this, I will post some of the feedback I got from the centre (redacted for privacy), and my own evaluation and self-criticism.
    Or not.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2014
  18. Southpaw535

    Southpaw535 Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    My agreements with people saying you should hand the course off to someone else have been based on how many things you seemed to need clarification on. I respected the fact you had enough self awareness and lack of an ego to know where you needed help and asked for it, but I didn't feel the timeline was long enough to become proficient. I don't think you need academia to be a good self defence coach. I don't know what you'd be able to get in any case.

    The time frame was the problem, as was my belief that being given the information wasn't enough. Like, I've spent some days with JWT and some of his instructors before. I've picked up various bits and bobs of self defence stuff from them that I'm comfortable I understand the principles of well enough to try and use it myself. But if I was asked to go and teach them to a group, let alone a vulnerable group, I would say no and give them JWT's details because I know he is much informed, trained and experienced.

    I did think your lesson plan you outlined earlier was pretty good and I was happy to see how much it had developed from your original post. It showed you genuinely had tried to find more information and had taken it on board. Especially the stuff from Adrastia. But that was also the problem. It wasn't your plan per se. It was a solid lesson to give, but seeing as how much of it was new I wasn't sure how well you could deliver it. Its essentially the same as me watching Tony Blauer videos for a couple days and then going to teach a seminar on his SPEAR system.

    So that's what my concerns were. Appreciate that it also wasn't about knocking you so much as it was trying to get the best for students who deserved a break. As far as the Centre staff go, I have no doubts they have only the best interests of their patients (if that's the word?) at heart. But I doubt they're all that well versed in this stuff either. The normal everyday person's impression of what self defence is is remarkably different to what it actually genuinely is.

    All that being said, you've done it now so what I as a random stranger on the internet think is completely irrelevant :p I am interested how it went though. This is the first time I've seen a discussion about teaching to a group of people in a situation like this and I have been curious how it would go.
  19. Remi Lessore

    Remi Lessore Valued Member

    timeline and things


    I did ask for more time before the session and it was not available, for various reasons.
    Lesson plans - I say this as an ex-teacher - need to be understood. However, they can be drawn up by others. We now have the situation in British schools where TAs (teaching assistants) are delivering lessons planned by qualified teachers. My views of this are qualified, but if the TA knows what she (it is usually a she) is doing, then that is OK.

    In the end, time to prepare was not really a problem.
    Adrastia suggested they be taught to shout with their belly, deeply, with authority. I have been doing this for years, even though I have a naturally soft voice. I know how to teach it.
    She suggested basic strikes which I knew, and know how to teach etc.
    The session content was well within my capabilities, though I would have done something far more complicated, and certainly much too complicated, if I had not asked for advice.

    Depending on other responses (or lack of them) I will post about the session and feedback tomorrow.

    ... and I think 'client' or 'service user' is better than 'patient'.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2014
  20. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Well I, for one, already stated I think it is good you are doing this class.

    Here is the thing, everyone who teaches a class like this was a beginner at some point. Actually that is true of anyone teaching any skill. Sure, we all want the person who has taught it for ages, but those people were new at it too at some point. People have to be given a chance to become experienced. That is just the way it works.

    At least until we get the technology to get an experience computer chip planted in ones brain.......

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