Walk & talk? Walking & texting? Who’s sizing you up while you’re not paying attention
July 16, 2010
by Susie Pender
With twenty years of city living behind me before I moved to Chappaqua, I consider myself “street smart.” When I took a women’s self-defense class (too many years ago to admit to), the instructor touched on “awareness of your surroundings,” but the biggest distraction then was window-shopping.
But in today’s harried world, who doesn’t walk and talk on the phone? Who doesn’t walk and text, and is sometimes brought up short by a good Samaritan reaching out to stop you from stepping off the curb into on-coming traffic at the crosswalk? Would that the world was full of only such good Samaritans.
But it’s not. And when you, or your teenaged son or your collegiate daughter isn’t looking, people are sizing you up. Are you an easy target?
Knowledge alone can be defense enough
Yesterday I had breakfast tea with Jong Hon, a personal trainer with a fifth degree black belt in karate in front of Susan Lawrence. He reminded of the three basic rules of self-defense. The first line of defense is offense; try to avoid dangerous situations in the first place. The second line of defense is flight. And only if one and two have failed, do you rely on actual self-defense techniques to save yourself.
He taught me several important things just in the time it took to drink a cup of Paris tea. He described several modern day strategies, of which I was completely unaware, used by street criminals to separate unsuspecting people from their money. I learned how not to be an unsuspecting person. And he showed me how to use the power in my body mechanics to surprise an unsuspecting mugger to get away. Not bad for the price of a cup of tea.
Self-defense training is for everyone
In their senior year at Greeley, every student takes a four-session class in self-defense, which includes discussions of the big, wide world out there and how it differs from the safe cocoon of Chappaqua. And then we send our children off into that big, wide world believing they are prepared.
But true preparedness from a self-defense perspective means creating a mental plan for defense in a dangerous situation and sufficient practice so that mental plan can practically run on automatic pilot.
“My fifteen-year-old daughter has a friend who has a summer internship in the City, near Columbia University,” explained Jong. “She told my daughter, ‘I’m so worried. I’m not City-smart.’ That’s what gave me the idea of offering a course in self-defense.”
It dawned on me that, as useful as the Greeley course is for graduating seniors, education about self defense should begin earlier, especially once kids start heading into the City for internships or clamoring to go to concerts. My chat with Jong also opened my eyes to the distinctly different dangers facing boys versus those facing girls, as well as those facing women of a certain age or retired weekend warriors.
Jong will be offering four-session self-defense classes, two times per week for two weeks, throughout the summer at Prescriptions for Fitness, 16 South Bedford Road, Chappaqua, NY. Classes will be limited to 4-6 people, and he will arrange class times to fit people’s schedules as much as possible. If you are interested or have questions, call Prescriptions for Fitness at 238-0500, or Jong directly at 400-8942. The fee for the four sessions is $185.00
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