All posts in September 2012

Girls Fight Back at Sul Ross University

Girls Fight Back is in full swing for our 2012 BYOB Fall Tour! The first visit on my leg of the tour was with the good people of Alpine, Texas on September 11. Thankfully, I packed my cowgirl boots.




But don’t let their southern-belle accent throw you off.. these Sul Ross University girls can kick some ass! Thank you so much for having us back Sully Productions!!

My Story – Costa Rica

Really, it should be “one of my stories” because there have been many times in my life that I have had to use the things we teach.  But I would like to share with you, dear readers, a story about an experience I had just over a year ago in Costa Rica.

I was on a dream vacation.  I spent a week in what could arguably be the most beautiful country in the world.  It certainly is the happiest country I’ve ever been to.  Through my week there, I went zip-lining and white water rafting, I saw volcanos and hiked waterfalls.  It was glorious and for the last two days of my trip, I hung out at a super amazing beach resort in Manuel Antonio.  The people of Costa Rica were amazingly friendly and it wasn’t until the last day of my trip that I had a not so pleasant experience with one of them…

I had talked briefly the day before to a local man who told me his name was Oscar.  He was very kind and helped me find some beautiful seashells to take home.  So when I saw him at the beach the next afternoon, I was excited to see a friendly face.  I said hello and he hugged me, which didn’t feel awkward, but at the end of the hug, he pulled me back into him and kissed me on the cheek.  It was uncomfortable and lingering, but I shrugged it off as a cultural thing.  We started to walk down the beach talking but once we were out of the view of the security guard, he started touching me.

He was rubbing my arms and chest and he put his hands on my hips.  All the while, he was talking to me in Spanish.  Now, if he had been speaking English, I don’t think I would have hesitated, but my mind raced as I was trying to interpret what he was saying.  I tried to think of how to get him off of me without making a scene on the beach.  I started saying “Alto.  No,” but he kept talking and I tried to understand what he was saying.  I heard him say something about my white skin and how white skin was his favorite.  He said something about white and black (referring to his darker skin) being beautiful together and suddenly, I realized that there was nothing to interpret or understand.  This man was making me uncomfortable and touching me in a way that was inappropriate.  So if there had to be a scene, there would be a scene.  I found my voice and got louder saying “NO!  ALTO!’  (meaning NO! STOP!).  He backed off and I calmed down.

And here’s where my instinct kicked in, he told me to keep walking down the beach.  He said that he was going to get a joint for us to smoke and a beer for me to drink (which is hilarious because I don’t do drugs or drink beer ever – what can I say? I’m a wine and cheese kinda gal).  He told me that when I was back from down the beach, we would smoke and drink and touch.  I finally just said ok so that he would leave (feigned compliance is a technique we often talk about in advanced self-defense classes).  As I kept walking down the beach, I realized that he had cut off my only exit and was still watching me as I walked.  If I stopped walking or turned around, he started towards me.  I started trying to think of how I was going to get out of this mess.

Eventually, I noticed that he wasn’t there anymore.  Without thinking twice, I took off running down the beach.  I ran past the security guard.  As I did, I saw Oscar there starting to follow me, but I just kept running and running back to my room.  There I showered and cried because I had been so scared.  But I was safe.  It hadn’t been pretty and it didn’t feel good, but I had survived a potentially dangerous situation by using my voice and my brain.

When I think back on this situation, I remember that moment where my training took over; when I stopped overthinking the situation, trying to be nice, trying to give this guy the benefit of the doubt.  Our society tells us to be kind, don’t make a scene, etc.  And even with my advanced training, it took a few minutes before I could shut that out and focus on being safe.  At times that has embarassed me.  I’ve even had friends question why I didn’t react sooner or put him in his place the first second he started making me uncomfortable.  But all-in-all, I know that I acted in a way that kept me from further harm.  And I’m grateful for the training I used to keep this scary and potentially dangerous situation from going any further.

I know that many of us (or maybe even all of us) have stories like this.   They are triumphs!  If you have a story you’d like to share, please feel free to comment.

Media Perceptions of Self-Protection: My Little Pony

As the mother of a four year old girl, I spend about one hour a day suffering through a child’s television program. The only TV I really let my daughter watch is one or two episodes of something she gets to choose each morning.  This is an event which I lovingly call “the snooze button”.  Lately, she has been digging My Little Pony.

Now, as a child I was obsessed with My Little Pony (as well as Strawberry Shortcake and Rainbow Brite), but the 2.0 version of the show, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to entertaining me.  Whatev.  She enjoys it and that makes me happy.

I generally try to get a little more sleep while she is cuddled up next to me in bed watching the show, but this past week, we watched a re-run of an episode that made me pay attention.  Let me set the scene:

Rarity is a fashion designing unicorn who loves pretty things.  One day a pop star pony named Sapphire Shores comes into her dress shop (God, I can’t believe I’m actually writing this…) and orders 7 pony pantsuits each covered in a different jewel.  So Rarity takes Spike (a baby dragon who has a crush on her – don’t ask) and they head out to find as many jewels as the possibly can.

Now, this is where it gets serious.

While hunting for jewels, Rarity is abducted by a pack of dogs who want to put her to work hunting jewels for them.  She is kept in an underground dungeon and forced to find and dig up jewels.  Now, under any circumstances, that is some pretty intense stuff for a kids’ TV show.  Her friends are all out, desperately trying to find her.  Spike is trying to be her knight in shining armor to sweep in and save her.

But Rarity is a particularly prissy unicorn and she does not like having to ruin her hoof polish by digging.  She complains and makes so much trouble that by the time everyone jumps into the dungeon to rescue her, the dogs are begging them to take her and all the jewels they want too.

Now, I have no idea what to think about that whole escaping abduction technique, but at the end of the episode, the ponies wrapped up the story with this dialogue (actual transcript from the show):

Pinkie Pie: I can’t believe you got all these gems!

Rainbow Dash: Heh. I can’t believe you tricked all those dogs.

Rarity: Just because I’m a lady doesn’t mean I cannot handle myself in a sticky situation. I had them wrapped around my hoof the entire time.

Twilight Sparkle: I can’t wait to write to Princess Celestia to tell her what you taught me today.

Rarity: Me? What did I teach you?

Twilight Sparkle: Just because somepony is ladylike doesn’t make her weak. In fact, by using her wits a seemingly defenseless pony can be the one who outsmarts and outshines them all.

Spike: Hm… “Outshines” is right. Now you have enough gems to cover Sapphire Shores’s costumes.

Rarity: Not if you eat them all, Spike.



Now, I still have no clue how to even process what I’ve just seen and heard, but “Just because somepony is ladylike doesn’t make her weak. In fact, by using her wits a seemingly defenseless pony can be the one who outsmarts and outshines them all.”

All I can say is….Word, Twilight Sparkle.  Word.

I Threw Away My ‘Runt’

Last weekend I moved into a new apartment. It was just my tiny mom and I carrying desks, tables and recliners up and down three flights of stairs, driving a U-haul truck, lugging around a queen mattress, ruining walls with my power drill and even laying carpet. Let’s be honest, I was feeling pretty badass.

But it was when I was unpacking things, making my ‘ya’ and ‘na’ piles of clothes and junk, that I truly felt strong. I smiled when I saw The Runt stun gun my aunt had bought me a couple years back as I moved to Nashville solo. I had forgotten about it, as I failed to keep it handy. Heck I didn’t even know if it really worked. So, with a sense of pride, I tossed my Runt, into the ‘na’ pile.

I had a similar “hell yeah” moment after completing my GFB training in Colorado. Prompted by the discovery that carrying mace on a plane is considered a felony (even though I made it through a couple airports concealed in my purse.. thank you, TSA) I tossed my mace into the trash.

You might be thinking “What an idiot. Who would throw out a perfectly good self-defense weapon? Especially since GFB teaches incorporating improvised weapons into your protection.” (Yes, I’m sure that was your quote-for-quote thought). Well, allow me to explain why tossing out my mace and stun gun was the best decision for me.

1.)    I am an idiot (don’t tell my future husband that) and would probably make the $5,000 mistake of carrying the mace on the plane again.

2.)    After my extensive GFB  training  with Bill Kipp and the FASTDefense team as well as IMPACT – Chicago, I knew I had the ability to lay a solid palm strike if

need be.

3.)    After struggling to work my fine motor skills in several of these adrenalized scenarios, I know the likelihood of removing mace from the bottom of my purse, turning off the safety, and effectively shooting a stream into an attacker’s eye carried the same success rate of the blind dates I have been on: not so hot.

4.)    Let’s say an attacker is hyped up on some kind of drug. Spraying mase in their eyes would be

like splashing some water at them… refreshing the attacker is not the goal.

5.)    What about those moments when I’m probably not going to have my weapon on me? Like on a plane or in the little girls room? It isn’t always going to be handy, thus unreliable.

Yet, above all, the main reason I chose to toss out my protection goods was because I know my mind and body are much stronger than some spray in a bottle. In the heat of the moment, I trust my own hands, my intuition, my power, my body, my mind, my core and my “mama bear” over a man-made product. I am my own best protector. Not the Runt or mace.

This is obviously a personal choice and not best for everyone. In fact, you might feel your inner ninja is most lethal once you get a bottle of pepper spray in your hand. If any self protection weapon that you have experience using gives you the confidence and security you need to fight back, then by God, carry that buddy everywhere you can.

But personally, I can only count on me when it comes to my safety. No one else.  No other thing. Which is pretty empowering and quite plainly, feels damn good. So sighanora Mr. Runt.. this minimalist is sticking to what I know and trust best: me and my guns (pun intended).

Gun Tattoo On Muscle from

USD Coyotes have got BITE!

There really are no words to express how deeply I fell in love with the wicked awesome gals of University of South Dakota.  They came, they laughed, they whooped tail, they stole my heart.

BTW, this was our fall kickoff!  And we’ve started something new this year…live tweeting!  You can check out the tweets at hashtag #BYOB12 and while you are there, make sure you are following us @girlsfightback.  Holla!