College students are especially at risk for suffering physical and sexual assault, especially women. You need to know that. When I teach seminars for sororities, I often make this statement and ask how many of the women attending know someone personally who was assaulted, something scary happens. First a lot of hands go up. Then the ladies who are younger and new to school ask the people near them “really?” and often the answer is “Yes. I was. You know me, and now you know I was assaulted, so raise your hand.” Within seconds, most every hand in the group is up. It doesn’t matter if the group is 10 students or 500. I ask them to keep their hands raised and look around so they get the point. After this, groups are very ready to learn what I have to teach.
Most people who teach self defense get the whole thing wrong, unfortunately. Self Defense is largely taught by martial arts experts or law enforcement that have hundreds or thousands of hours applying their skills. Their reflexes are developed and ready in a completely different way. The skills they can use have no resemblance to what the average person can actually use in a real life or death confrontation. If they try to teach you what they would use themselves, and you don’t have their level of experience, it will almost certainly fail for you. I am sure they have good intentions, but in the end, it is effectiveness that matters.
If you are taking a class that is focusing on a lot of complicated memorization, or telling you to identify the position of the thumb when being grabbed so you know which direction to pull away for instance, and you are not highly experienced, these things will not work for you.
It’s even worse if you are being told to carry some kind of weapon, but don’t actually have a lot of experience in practice in using it. There’s simply no way that you will be able to bring it into play and use it without a lot of practice under stress.
The problem is adrenaline and heart rate. When you experience an adrenaline dump, there are a lot of possible consequences that I go over in more depth in my book. Rather than restate them, here’s a part from Chapter 2, Page 13 on Stress Responses & Adrenaline:
The body has certain predictable responses to stressful situations. If you think about it, I know you are familiar with them already, even if you’ve never had to defend yourself. Have you ever had to speak publicly? That is a huge stressor for a lot of people. Ever experienced road rage? How about been in a car accident? Or had a heated argument with someone?
If you’ve experienced anything like these, you have felt at least some of the effects I’m about to describe firsthand, so I know you can relate. Common effects of an adrenaline dump include: heart rate and respiratory changes, tunnel vision, loss of hearing, inability to take in and process new information, no fine motor skills, time dilation (moving fast, moving slow, inconsistent), increased speed and strength, loss of touch sensitivity including increased pain tolerance, unconscious movements or freezing, short term memory loss including non-formation of memory, no depth perception, and the list
What would you do if your life or safety were threatened? How would you react? Are you confident that you would fight back and survive? Should you fight back? What’s the best response? If something happens, how do I report it? What is that process like? Should I report it? What if my report isn’t taken seriously? What is title IX? What is wrong with a person who would attack someone else? Can I really ever be safe? Am I really at risk? Why can’t I get a clear answer to any of my questions?
I wrote the book to be a companion to in person seminars for myself, and every other self defense teacher. I go into all the answers to all these questions and more.