Do you see that 12-year-old girl in the photo to the right? She is doing a Reality-Based Personal Protection Women’s Survival technique called “Giving the Hard Look.” During a scenario, in a real environment, she was walking on a sidewalk, aware of her environment, and occasionally looked behind her as she was walking to see if anyone is following her. She then sees that a suspicious man is following her (a male assistant instructor playing the role of a sexual predator) and lets him know, with “the hard look,” without stopping, that she is aware of him and she is not going to be an unaware, approachable, or an unprepared victim. Once she is alerted to the danger she then takes evasive maneuvers.
On March 30, 2019 I finished up the month with my Women’s Survival course that I have been teaching since 1986; that’s been 33 years! This one was taught in my own backyard – warm, sunny, Southern California one hour south of Los Angeles. I don’t have a lot of time lately to teach this life-saving course to women, and that’s because for the past six months I have been working with some American Fortune 100 companies organizing and teaching their security teams, but I’ve been able to do at least one every six months. Two weeks before that I was teaching Defensive Tactics and Defensive Expert in Abbotsford, Canada with Mike Kendall.
This Women’s Survival course I taught last weekend was unique in the fact that my youngest student was a 12-year-old girl, and my oldest student was in her 70’s. The sad truth is that there are horrible people in this world that attack children and senior citizens alike. Just turn look at the news on any giving day and it is quite depressing: women attacked by men posing as Uber drivers, an elderly woman kicked in the face on a subway for no reason, a pregnant realtor stabbed multiple times, and the stories are many. Yet, despite the violence, and women very much aware that violence against women is increasing, getting women to actually take a self-defense course for their own good is next to impossible. Let me give you an example.
My goddaughter, let’s call her “Sue” to keep her identity concealed, is a university student. Ever since she was a pre-teen I’ve tried to convince her to learn self-defense from me, along with her two sisters. Since they were babies my wife and I have been very close to them, and they love us, so it is not a trust issue at all. In fact, their father, a friend of mine since high school, has pleaded with them to learn self-defense from me. He’s even said to them, “You will be learning from the best. Jim has taught the Israelis, cops, and soldiers all over the world,” but nothing can convince them. They’ve just never been interested in knowing how to defend themselves growing up in a very affluent, low crime, enclave of San Diego. I thought for sure that Sue would come to my Women's Survival course when just a couple of weeks before the course a female student, literally down the street from Sue's appartment, was beaten, her clothes ripped off, and stabbed while walking her dog. I also tried to get two of my nieces there as well, both in their early twenties, but the same result. Now, getting them to go out for dinner or a movie, not a problem; food and entertainment, that’s not a problem. My former Reality-Based Personal Protection Director of Germany, Tobias Leckebusch, articulated it best when he said, “Few women come to your Women’s Survival course because they don’t want to face reality. It is not comfortable. It’s easier for them just to hope it never happens to them.”
For those women that did show up on Saturday, and it was a great group, they learned situational awareness, how to handle and shoot a gun (using Airsoft guns), how to effectively use a knife, and a few hand-to-hand combat techniques. I was also very pleased with the four male assistant instructors that helped me; without them it would have been much more difficult, especially since a couple of them play the role of attackers (a role I never take to keep the trust of my female students).
It's a violent world out there, and I am doing my part, when I can, to keep some "girls on guard."
BE A HARD TARGET
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