Thursday, April 18, 2013

Self Defense Class

I just finished taking a RAD (Rape Aggression Defense) Self Defense Class that was taught by Michele (AKA Certain) for the Trail Dames of Georgia.  Michele is the head of the Central Virginia Chapter of Trail Dames, and she came down to do a beginner backpacking trip with our chapter and stayed on a few extra days to teach this awesome course.

I solo backpack and hike often, and haven't had a self defense class since college.  While someday I'd like to study martial arts to become more proficient in self defense, this class was great because in three, 3-hour long classes, we learned realistic tactics, and got hands-on experience.  We practiced techniques that took advantage of our inherent strengths, and saw how our bodies are powerful just as they are.  The biggest thing though was the attitude change-- tapping into that fierceness we have inside us already and realizing we can fight back in the event of an assault.
Don't mess with these fierce women!
While not specifically designed for hikers and backpackers, this program included the techniques that would be effective anywhere.  Our conversations ranged from safety on the trail and while driving to trailheads, to the messages in our culture about women and all the things we've been taught about gender roles.  We talked about not be afraid to set boundaries or to make a scene when we are uncomfortable, and to trust our intuition.  It is incredible to take away from this class the powerful image of all of us fierce, strong women punching and kicking and our collective voices rising up together in a powerful yell.

Michele is an incredible, enthusiastic instructor and I highly recommend checking out her website to take her course if you are in the southeast, or visiting the website for the RAD program to find a local self-defense course in your area.

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