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Our 2014 retreat will be in Lake Forest, CA at the Villari's Martial Arts and Wellness Center. Master Bombalier has graciously agreed to allow us to host the retreat here again this year as well as teaching a seminar on Saturday of the retreat. Please join us as it should be quite informative, fun and a good workout.
We chose the theme "Living Bushido" to focus on this year. We hear many philosophies and ideals that are intended to help us navigate our lives. However, at what point do we embrace those ideals as a recipe to living our lives versus a catch phrase on a seminar? What does it mean to live Bushido? The following website has a nice summary of Bushido: http://gorochi.hubpages.com/hub/The-Seven-Virtues-of-Bushido#
Take a moment to contemplate the virtues of the Bushido Code and how they play into your daily life, or if they relate to your own personal code of ethics.
For more details on the retreat please e-mail Sensei Noel at email@example.com.
The 2015 retreat is going to be hosted by Sensei Matt at his new school in Flagstaff, AZ. Please visit his website at www.sacredmountainkungfu.com
Women's Self defense is a topic that is popular to discuss and many theories exist on the best methods to protect yourselves against a presumably larger and stronger attacker. Motivations are not always obvious to the victim at first and can vary in level of violence and aggressiveness. What I would like to discuss in this post are some thoughts on awareness and prevention as the first tools to preventing or managing an attack.
I am a proponent of the saying an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. Increasing awareness of surroundings and working some basic prevention planning into one's daily routine can go a long way to avoiding a potential harmful situation. A few tips on prevention:
Pay attention to how you are presenting yourself -
If you you display temptation people may act on the opportunity. One example is when you leave a store or business be sure to put your wallet, phone, or other valuables away. Walking out into the parking lot while still putting your money in your wallet or credit cards away can create temptation as well as take your attention from your environment. Basically, compose yourself before walking out to the car or walking home.
Plan Ahead -
When going to a new place or when you know you may be returning to your car at night, pay attention to where you park. This can help in several ways. First, by choosing a parking spot in a well-lit area that is close to activity and other people is safer. Second, paying attention to where you park will help you go to directly to your car later and not wander around looking lost. Third, having paid attention to your environment on the way in and while looking for parking, gives you the opportunity to look around and see if anything looks out of the ordinary or makes you uncomfortable. Trust your intuition, If something makes you uncomfortable LEAVE!
Understand your options -
When you have chosen the safe, well-lit parking space and found a direct path to your destination think about how you can defend yourself if required. I highly recommend a basic self defense class to learn some fundamental techniques. This doesn't mean you have to join a class and go every day (although you may want to!) but at least take an opportunity to learn some concepts. For example, how to use your car keys as a defense tool. And also, it is as important to learn how NOT to use certain tools. I have seen some techniques out there that if applied in the real world will injure the user. For example the suggestion to put your keys between separate fingers and raking the bad guy. This can lead to broken fingers if your hand is grabbed by someone stronger. I recommend one key held along the index finger and used to scratch at the attackers face or any exposed skin. This works great on knuckles when you are being grabbed!
There are many simplistic techniques one can learn without extended training that can be applied by anybody. Reading articles certainly falls under prevention, not training, by the way!
Victim Posture -
How you carry yourself goes a long way toward determining if you are attacked or not. People who are unaware of their environment or always talking on the phone while fumbling with their wallet or purse are easier targets. Walking with your head down and shuffling your feet makes you look like a target. Even if you don't feel confident inside yourself pay attention to your body language, and how you carry yourself. I like to tell people to pick a point in the distance and walk towards it with purpose. Once you get there, if it is not your destination, pick another spot and continue until you are in a safe place. Part of avoiding being a target can include not displaying valuables in an obvious fashion, getting off the phone, looking around, and paying attention.
In summary, there is no substitute for training. A good first step is increasing your personal awareness, having a plan and trying to carry yourself in a manner that appears confident. Add some training and you are on the way to taking control of yourself and your safety. Just remember if you do get into a situation there is nothing in your wallet or purse that is worth your life. I teach even the most experienced martial artists that the money in your wallet is not worth getting stabbed or shot.
But that is a story for another day.....
Look for self defense seminars at your local dojo or law enforcement agency. Although these classes are often geared at women they are for everybody!
Thanks and Safe Travels