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.