Getting RAD in Germantown
A Personal Perspective on Taking a Self Defense Class
By Nicolle Schorchit
I signed up for this course thinking I wanted to learn how to fight the bad guys. However, by the end of this class I realized I do not want to fight. Instead I actually wanted to learn how to escape from real danger in my life.
My goal now, if I am ever attacked, is to survive with the least amount of scratches and bruises, and because of this R.A.D. class I have the techniques to do so.
R.A.D. stands for Rape Aggression Defense. RAD is taught as part of PHED 156, Self Defense for Women, which meets Tuesdays and Thursdays. My instructor is Anthony Solano.
I felt like I was training to become Bruce Lee. I was drilled over and over again through various techniques and exercises, drilled until I was aptly capable of defending myself.
What was drilled constantly and truly empowered me was the defensive mindset that says, “I will survive.” It’s not I might survive nor I can try surviving, but that I will survive. The mindset that means a person is capable of doing anything when they put their mind to it.
Anyone, especially a woman, would be scared when they are attacked. It is natural of course. But it feels absolutely great when you know what to do when you have so many self-defense options. The class learns to take fear or anger and transform that energy into power: power for kicks, head-butts, and seize-and-grab techniques, etc.
Trust me; you do not want to know what “seize-and-grab’’ is… If I am ever attacked, I may be scared, but I am not helpless.
Even though the instructor was a man, there was no awkwardness nor did I feel uncomfortable. Professor Solano made sure we were all comfortable doing the techniques and if we wanted to pass on some exercise that was completely okay.
He helped us gain more insight into a man’s psychological and physical weaknesses. Sometimes we would be practicing a technique and he would say, “Trust me, this one definitely hurts.”
I believe I speak for all of my classmates when I say that pad-work was the best part of class. It was thrilling when a thud from blocking or kicking a pad resounded through the gym. The pleasure of getting in a good block or kick is like the pleasure you get from whacking open a piñata.
We had a great environment, a supporting environment. We would help each other until we were all capable. Truly, there is no judging or competition in this course. We want all of us women to properly learn self-defense techniques. Did I mention we got to hit our instructor and a chief of police at the end of the course? Everyone was safe in padded armor, of course.
I most definitely believe self-defense for women is important and essentially needed. We do not know what may happen in life. I could be attacked tomorrow on campus or walking in my neighborhood.
You never know when anything can happen. But what I do know is that I can do anything I put my mind to; the empowerment that was instilled in me will never die down. What is great about this course is that if I am ever afraid that I might be forgetting stuff, I can come back and practice, practice, and practice!
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