All posts in December 2009

Portland Actress Shares Success Story

Alana and GFB Speaker Jaime Out On The TownThe best fight is the fight never fought. If you have ever been to a Girls Fight Back seminar, you have undoubtedly heard one of our speakers tell you this. You have also heard that setting boundaries with both your words your body are truly fantastic tools that we can all use to avoid violence in our lives. A good friend of mine and wonderful actress, Alana, told me a story this week that makes me believe in boundaries and preparation with even more conviction.  This is Alana’s story.

Alana went to France over Thanksgiving. First, I think we should all take a moment to be jealous of Alana’s holiday plans that were probably much cooler than our own. OK, now that is out of the way and I will continue with her story. When Alana was in France, she was sight-seeing and doing other cool things and came upon a marketplace of sorts and various people were trying to sell all sorts of things. One person stuck out for all the wrong reasons. Alana had a weird feeling about him because he was trying to get people to come over to him but did not appear to be selling anything. The man addressed Alana, she told him she wasn’t interested, and turned to walk away. He grabbed her arm. Let’s all take a moment and realize how inappropriate it was to grab her.  Alana whirled around and said, “Don’t touch me.” Oh, by the way, she said it in French! How cool is that?!?  The man did not let go and Alana prepped for a knee drive, which made him think twice and release her arm.  

 Alana went to one of the GFB seminars I put on in Portland last summer and said the seminar helped her know how to handle the situation, so this story made me incredibly happy. Let’s break Alana’s story down a little bit. First, Alana had a weird feeling about someone but, at first, was not sure why. This was her intuition. To directly rip off the words of Gavin DeBecker, your intuition is knowing something without knowing why. Later, Alana realized this man felt out of place because he was calling attention to himself in a marketplace but was not actually selling anything. That is also a great example of being aware of your surroundings. Second, Alana set a very clear verbal boundary when she told him she wasn’t interested in talking to him. Third, Alana set a very firm, final, unmistakably clear physical and verbal boundary by turning to the man and saying “Don’t touch me!” When that did not work, Alana was prepared to defend herself and fight back if necessary.

 This is a total success story that should be celebrated.  Alana fought the best fight ever . . . The one that is never fought! Alana trusted her intuition,  being a bad victim, and was completely prepared to defend herself. While, I am so thankful she didn’t actually have to fight, I am equally thankful that my friend Alana knows that she is worth fighting for and had confidence and presence of mind in a scary situation. Success stories like this are more common than some might think.  They just are not talked about enough. Be on the lookout for the success stories in your own lives and remember to celebrate them.

Prepare Portland Delivers a Great Self-Defense Program

I recently attended a really great self-defense program in the Portland area. It was Prepare Portland’s class and they teach Impact-style self-defense. It was a fun-filled weekend of learning full contact, all-out, empowering self-defense skills. These are my thoughts and a general review of the program but remember, you should research any program before attending.

Prepare Portland delivered a very well-rounded program focusing on setting physical and verbal boundaries and how to fight back from different holds and positions. We started on Friday evening with introductions and background about the program, and then we warmed up and went straight into it. We started with physical fighting and, as the night and weekend progressed, we layered verbal assault and self-defense into the fights. There was a good variety of ground fighting, fighting standing up, surprise attacks from behind, and verbal attacks. Plus, each new scenario built upon skills taught in the previous scenarios so the confidence of the class grew with each scenario.

The program was also incredibly empowering. Each instructor was encouraging, positive and had valuable insights to share. The instructors gave us each the opportunity to give them an index card with scenarios we either wanted to try or avoid. This tailoring gave the students the opportunity to either tackle a scenario they wanted to conquer or avoid a situation they were not quite ready to take on. In general, I think the male, padded instructor is crucial to the success of a full-contact self-defense program. They have to be able to make the switch from being compassionate and your biggest supporter when out of the suit and a creepy weirdo/your worst nightmare when in the suit.  I have to say that our padded instructor played both roles extremely well and I am amazed at his ability to, seemingly simultaneously, attack and encourage.

The one thing that might be a drawback to this program is cost. For 20 hours of training, the full cost is $495.00. However, the bright side (and I’m all about the bright side) is that there are scholarships available based on your income and the staff is really good about working out payment plans. 

To sum up, Prepare Portland delivered a highly empowering, practical self-defense course that I hope more of my fellow Oregonians take advantage of. Great program, great staff, great times.