All posts in September 2009

Buckeyes Fight Back at Ohio State!

Wet weather in Columbus, Ohio last night moved Welcome Week festivities hosted by Alpha Phi Sorority indoors, but that did stop a group of more than 200 sutdents from kicking ass and taking names! Students Fight Back rocked the Ohio State RPAC yesterday for an awesome crowd of men and women fired up about being their own best protectors.

The seminar was awesome, and everyone walked away pumped with energy – which is a really good thing, because the event following SFB was no spectator sport. Hundreds of students crammed into the huge gymnasium for an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for largest pillow fight. Alpha Phi even had pillowcases custom printed with the Students Fight Back logo for everyone who attended. Thank god for Welcome Week events giving out something other than t-shirts, right? These pillows are awesome (mine particularly came in handy on my 6 a.m. flight home this morning!)!

Ohio State is undeniably one of the nation’s largest universities, and boy do they have the spirit to match. Thanks to everyone who made last night’s event such a success! And good luck holding on to that pillow fight record!

Way to go TSU Bulldogs!

Well, I’m back in the heart of Texas and having a much more leisurely trip than when I went to San Antonio a few weeks ago.  Yesterday,  I enjoyed some rest and relaxation at my hotel and some delicious tacos at Torchy’s Tacos. ( I highly recommend them!)

But by far the best experience I’ve had thus far was presenting Girls Fight Back at Texas State University – San Marcos! (Famous Alumni include LBJ and George Strait.) It was a beautiful room to present in.  My event coordinator Albert was a dream come true AND he played my scary bad guy!  It was an intimate crowd due to the large quantities of rain pouring outside (but hey, they’ve had drought conditions lately, so they need it!), but when they got fired up, you couldn’t stop them!  Since it was a smaller group, we got to practice some hands-on technique and I even got them rolling on the floor groundfighting.  Awesome!TSU

This morning I discovered with delight that my hotel has a waffle iron that creates waffles shaped like the state of Texas.  Yeehaw!  So I’m going to enjoy another day in the Lonestar State and then head out to rock Baylor University Girls Fight Back style.  Baylor girls are some long time GFB fans.  So much so, that they are rockin’ the GFB logo as their avatars on Facebook.  Sweet!

Can’t wait to hang out with all these awesome chicks tonight and throw back a Dr. Pepper float!

Buena Vista University and Morningside College

I was so excited to go to Iowa as part of the FBP Fall Tour! Though I’ve never been there I’ve seen “Field of Dreams” enough times to know that I would like it. Having spent so much time in big cities, it was surreal driving down Highway 20 from the Sioux Gateway Airport with little else around but cornfields and windmills. For the record- Iowa looks exactly like you think it does and it’s awesome!

My first stop was Buena Vista University, which is nestled in the small town of Storm Lake. It was a really quant town that had what I consider to be heaven on earth- a Dairy Queen on every corner!  The University was only about 10 minutes from my hotel, hidden in a neighborhood that I thought couldn’t possibly lead to a University- until I got to entrance.

The BVU campus was beautiful and I was immediately excited to bring Students Fight Back to the ACES program. Everyone was so helpful in setting up and made me feel so welcome! Thank you to Matt and my student volunteers.  I had a great time speaking with the students! They gave great feedback, laughed and we were all entertained by our “scary bad guy”, Jamell.

Next stop was Morningside College. I really had no idea there were so many amazing schools hidden in small little towns! Morningside was another awesome school with a great campus…and a Dairy Queen.

I really enjoyed my time with the students here. We even got to spend a little one on one time learning some basic moves that they could use if necessary. Thank you Andrew for bringing us to Morningside and to the students who made the program so much fun!

Next stop…Old Dominion in VA! Hopefully with a functioning camera this time!

Alabama girl fights back!

When my alarm went off at 3:30 this morning, I jumped out of bed, kissed my sleeping daughter, and headed off to the airport.  As I drove along, I thought…why do I do this? Was this what I really wanted when I got involved in Fight Back Productions? I was exhausted and a little bitter when I finally sat down in the airport to wait for boarding.  So, I checked my email to fill the time and found a google alert for an article with the title Ala. girl escapes from attacker by fighting back.  I was instantly reminded why we at FBP do what we do and why so many people in the self-defense industry push forward despite being confronted by the harsh realities of humanity every day.  We all say if we reach just one, it is worth it.  Well, kudos to this young girl and to everyone who worked to get her the training she needed to be her own best protector!

My flights went great and now I am ready for an afternoon of rest and relaxation before bringing Girls Fight Back to Texas State University – San Marcos tonight!

Maria High School girls get their FIGHT on!

It’s Sunday at 8:30 p.m. here in rainy Nashville, and the week is (finally!) winding down. But before I let this one get away for good, I just had to stop and tell everyone that Maria High School might just be the coolest high school in beautiful Chicago. I spent an incredible hour with the ladies there this past Thursday, and I can’t say enough about their rockin’ energy level. Don’t let the sweet Catholic schoolgirl outfits fool you – these girls have serious personality! They even teamed up to make uber-creative Girls Fight Back posters, and gave me the (impossible) job of juding the best.

But spunk aside, these girls are committed to being their own best protectors, equipped with the tools they need to stay safe and fired up about FIGHTING BACK!

Thanks to everyone at Maria who made the event a smashing success, and thanks especially to the girls, who brought their A-game and demonstrated in living color what Girls Fight Back is all about. You go girls!

Woman Fights Back – And It WORKS!

We here at Fight Back Productions spend a lot of time not only teaching women how to be their own best protectors, but celebrating their success when they are. But the sad truth is, beyond the pages of this blog and a few others like it, women’s self-defense success doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves.

That’s why I was thrilled to see this headline in The New York Times this week:

“Woman Fights Off Attacker”

The story tells of a woman who was grabbed in a choke hold while waiting for an elevator, threatened with a piece of broken glass and ordered to “take off your clothes.” The woman refused, began to fight back and ultimately chased her attacker down the stairs and out of the building. When she told an on-duty security guard of the would-be rapist and he declined to take action, this hero of a woman continued to chase her attacker down the street, determined that he should be caught and prevented from harming other women. He eventually disappeared into the city, but what’s amazing here is the bravery and the courage that this woman showed in handling what could have been a deadly situation.

Not only did she protect herself, but she was determined to protect other women by taking this creep down. She had him literally running scared through the streets of New York! Heaven help the creepy bad guy who tries to attack a woman ready to fight back. Not only will he NOT get what he’s looking for, but he’ll piss her off in the process – and when that happens, he better look out.

This courageous New York woman reminds all of us – along with all of the creepy weirdos out there – that there is indeed NOTHING more dangerous that an angry woman.

Remember the Alamo

AlamoI am sitting on my return flight from San Antonio right now after only 3 hours of sleep and wondering what possessed me to take the earliest available flight today.  But, hey I’ll be home before I know it, right?

My time in San Antonio has been brief (less than 24 hours), but awesome!  I have loved the weather (hot and humid – just like home) and actually got to do a little sight seeing!  My hotel room wasn’t ready when I got in, so I cruised on downtown and took in the sights at Riverwalk and the Alamo.

But I wasn’t here to enjoy the attractions!  I was here to deliver a Students Fight Back presentation at the University of Texas – San Antonio and man, those kids were awesome!  As soon as I got there the room flooded with volunteers from the Campus Activities Board, Student Wellness Center, Women’s Resource Center, peer educators, etc. etc.  They were all excited and ready to rock.  We got started pretty late, but hey, college kids are used to late nights!  The presentation was great and very interactive.  Afterwards, I stuck around to take some of the audience through some ground fighting techniques.  And the best part of all?  I didn’t get lost!  Not on the way to UTSA and not going back to the hotel!  For me, that makes a really great gig!

FBP productions will be back in Texas in just a little over a week to deliver the goods at Texas State University – San Marcos and Baylor University.  It isn’t too late to get your school on our rockin’ Fall 2009 tour! Contact us for more info!

Rabbis Fight Back

Choosing a Preschool

There is an old German proverb that reads: “Who takes the child by the hand, takes the mother by the heart.” From the minute a slimy, closed-eyed, squalling little baby is laid across its mother’s chest, the mother begins to look at the world differently. (Check out FBP founder Erin Weed’s latest blog about natural childbirth and her journey into motherhood.) What used to look like a fun, predictable place now looks like a cesspool of predators, electrical outlets, and sharp-cornered coffee tables.

I have successfully guided my daughter through this dangerous world for almost 17 months now and despite her share of falls (off the bed, down a short flight of stairs, off the couch, etc. etc.) she is today a strong willed and independent toddler.

Today was her first day of preschool.

Of course, that sounds dramatic. Really today was her first day of ever being cared for by someone other than a family member. She is attending two half days a week at a local church preschool which amounts to a whopping 6 hours a week in the care of someone else. Still, it is a big step for us.

When we were looking for a preschool, I thought we were doing everything right. We grilled our friends for recommendations; we toured a few options; we asked questions and finally made a decision. The final decision was really made by Cassie. Like most toddlers, she has separation anxiety. Every place we toured she was clingy and unwilling for us to set her down for even one moment. But this one preschool, she really opened up and dove right in. She played with toys and smiled at teachers. We thought she was making her choice known. So we went with it.

A month after filing out my registration form and signing over that first tuition check, I was reading Protecting the Gift by Gavin de Becker and realized…maybe my (then) 13 month old wasn’t the best person to rely on to choose a safe preschool. I was reading the chapter about choosing a preschool and feeling so stupid. I had asked questions, but they hadn’t been the real questions on my mind. I had let others convince me what a great place this was, but didn’t even ask if they background checked their employees! What had I done?!

I decided to make an appointment to see the director and ask all the right questions this time. I knew that this place was such a great school that her answers would put me at ease. I was shocked to find out that while the school does background check employees, it doesn’t background check volunteers or follow the Department of Justice Guidelines for the Screening of Persons Working with Children. I tried hard not to let my disappointment show as I received honest, yet somewhat scary answers to my child safety questions. I was beginning to realize that I had a hard decision to make. My child could not attend this school.

As I was about to wrap things up, the director of the preschool shared a particularly candid story with me about a time that she had suspected a parent of abusing their child. Hearing about her quick and decisive action gave me a glimmer of hope. We began to have a simple and honest dialogue about safety. No more questions with pass or fail answers, just a few adults talking about how to make their community safer for children.

In the course of this dialogue, I shared my connection to Fight Back Productions and talked about the book Protecting the Gift. I shared with the director and her assistant director everything that I was learning. She said, “Then maybe you can help us.”

Later that afternoon, we were exchanging emails about fingerprint based background checks and video camera security systems. My suggestions were treated with respect and just recently, the director shared with me that the church had approved the installation of a new security system!

I was amazed by what could happen when just one person asks the tough questions. So today was Cassie’s first day at that same school. I’m confident that as long as I keep speaking up and the administration keeps listening and working with me, we can create an environment where the kids can not only be safe, but can grow and thrive.

For more information about what you can do to be sure your child is safe at school check out this article.