A few months after I started taking karate lessons, I attended a women’s self-defense seminar taught by Sensei Bobbi Snyder. I am not going to deny that I was nervous. I had never been to a self-defense seminar and I did not know what to expect. I was familiar with karate classes but somehow I knew this seminar would be nothing like the dojo.
The class was held off-site at a local university. There were approximately ten participants with various levels of karate experience. The session was in three parts…lecture, self-defense techniques and a discussion. If I would have to describe the class in one word, it would be INTENSE. I do not remember which techniques were taught. I am not certain about what was covered in the lecture. However, I remember almost every detail of the discussion.
You see this discussion forever change my worldview. I walked into the seminar a shy, slightly naive and somewhat sheltered young adult. I walked out of this seminar shocked and more aware. During the discussion, the women recounted stories of rape, abuse, incest, violence and victimization. I sat silently and my heart broke for these women.
I need to share something important. Despite the horrible experiences…these women were brave, strong and resilient. They sat among a circle of strangers and bared their souls. They were regaining control of their lives. These women were not victims...they are survivors.
I left the self-defense session emotionally drained. I remember calling my parents to thank them. I thanked my Dad for being one of the “good guys”. I thanked my Mom for being a strong woman and a role model.
It was a while before I attended another self-defense session. Through the years, I have attended my fair share of women’s self-defense seminars. I can even say that I taught a few.
No other session affected me as much as this first one.