Be Aware

In this crazy mixed up world, you can’t be too aware of what’s going on around you. Every day when I read the news posts or watch on television it seems as if something else has happened. People hurting people. Not only does it make me sad but it also makes me want to scream from the rooftops, “Be aware. Watch what’s going on”.

The other day I was talking to a student about that very same thing. I don’t want to have to use my martial arts skills. I want to be cognizant of what’s happening in my environment and control it by using simple things like my voice or removing myself from the situation before it unfolds. That of course, means I have to rely upon the age old ‘trust your gut’ – the feeling you get in the pit of your stomach that something isn’t right.

All too often I see ads for women’s self defense tools and I cringe every single time. Most of the devices being sold require that the woman be close to the attacker. Letting them get close to me – that’s the last thing I want to do. Distance is my best friend when it comes to defending myself. If you can’t touch me, you can’t hurt me. Unless you have a gun. Or a car. And there seems to be a lot of that going on lately. Like I said, this crazy mixed up world is making me sad. Be aware of your surroundings. Move and get away.

Be safe. And say a prayer for the latest victims – those in Spain. I loved the time I lived there and seeing terror flooding through the streets makes my soul cry. Make your little corner of the world safe. Be aware.

Real Life

Obviously we practice self defense moves every day when we train. That’s a good part of what karate is about. Groin kicks. Knees. A firm heel-palm to the nose, breaking it and driving it back into their head. We do ground fighting. Elbow attacks…hammer fist….we do it all.

How often do we need to use this in a real-life situation? Hopefully never but we always have to be prepared. I’ve been training quite a while now and feel confidence in my everyday life. Walking on the street somewhere, the grocery parking lot – pretty much anywhere I go I’m not concerned.

That was until last night. I had a marketing meeting at a local shop. All of the other girls parked in the alley next to the shop. Everyone but me, that is. I parked across the street in a busy parking lot. It was well-lit and lots of traffic there, nothing to worry about at all. Well, that was until I left the meeting. Then traffic had definitely thinned out in the parking lot and it was much darker. I had this feeling in the pit of my stomach, an uneasiness that I couldn’t shake.

I’ve heard my instructor tell women for years to trust that feeling – I knew this was the moment that I needed to listen to that inner voice and his training and be smart. I had my purse slung cross-body over me, keeping it pulled in tight and my keys in my hand. I looked ahead at my car as well as side-to-side. I knew what was behind me – all of my friends who had parked together. I glanced carefully under the car and made sure that no one was parked right next to me. (Did you know that some men park a van next to a woman’s car and then position themselves in the passenger seat so that they can easily grab her and throw her quickly into the back of the van? ) The second I was within easy range of my car I unlocked the doors with my remote and slid into the seat, started it up and locked the doors.

No, I didn’t have to use my self defense skills. I didn’t drop a man to his knees with a groin attack. I used the other training that I had – the self defense, self-preservation training and kept myself out of a problem…maybe not as well as I could have though. Perhaps I should have parked in the alley with everyone else. It really was a safer choice.

Its all about real life. And staying safe.