Thursday, April 20, 2006

How to fight back in tight situations by Melissa Soalt

In this article , "Close Encounters of the Wrong Kind," women's self-defense authority Melissa Soalt explains that, "Predators often use engulfing, pinning, choking, slapping or immobilizing tactics..." In other words, infighting. She shares details of an attempted sexual assault:

Before I reached the door, he spun me around and slammed me against the wall, thumping my head. Pressing me into the wall, he grabbed my throat and started swearing at me in French. (Tip: right then and there while he was running his he-man rap and establishing dominance, I could have counterattacked. A sneaky
no-holds-barred ear clap might have done the trick.)

Physically, he was a thick, burly guy. As I am a whopping five feet tall on a good hair day, he looked and felt like The Hulk. At first, I struggled and tried to push him way. (Tip: In tight quarters, pushing on he-man’s chest is ineffectual and pummeling it doesn’t hurt. Why do you think Tarzan pounds his chest and not his gonads or Adam’s apple?)

The more I pushed and pleaded, the more forceful he became. When my screams grew louder, he slapped one hand over my mouth then started groping me, fumbling with my blouse. (Tip: Great news! Once his hands are occupied, it’s an opportune time to counterattack; better yet, trap or hold his offending hands in place then counter with your free limbs.)

In that moment I was paralyzed. In my mind, being pinned by a larger pumped-up creature could only mean one thing: surrender. I stopped struggling. My body went limp—not because it was an effective strategy that might enable me to spring into action, but because I felt utterly helpless. (Tip: Going from “rag doll to ballistic,”
from zero to 100 percent can aid you in taking an aggressor by surprise.)

Then something clicked. I felt a blaze of heat, as if a seed inside of me popped open releasing a powder keg of fury and I just went primal. I struck and clawed at his face, I kicked, punched, bit, hollered, twisted and torqued myself free. Then I flew out the door.

Make Opening Moves Count!

I have been involved in teaching women's self defense since the mid-80s, and I am often struck by the uniformity of the techniques that are taught out there. I believe that a child or smaller woman's tactics in pure self-defense (survival) should be no different than for a man versus a larger man. For example, I'd have to fight Sam (approx. 5'9" and 200 or so pounds) differently than I'd handle Bob Sapp (6'5", 350 ish, I think), with me being about 5'9" and 220 pounds. What's the difference beside proportional upper-body strength between a trained male and female fighter? Be open to absorbing and using techniques designed for a much smaller person - you'll never know when you'll need them!-NDT

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