What if you're wrong about that creepy-looking guy in the parking lot and he turns out to be harmless? What if you're wrong about that noise you heard outside? What if you're over-reacting? What if that way-too-friendly guy at the bar gets mad at you and yells at you? What if you hurt someone's feelings or hurt their body? What if your mother never speaks to you again?
What if you're right and you don't act? What would you do if your daughter, your sister, your best friend or your mother was in this situation? How do you decide how much is too much? What if you try something and it doesn't work? What if you make the situation worse? What if you do everything you learned in your self-defense class and you still get hurt?
Rather than pretending that bad things don't happen, or hesitating to act because you're afraid of being wrong, or worrying about what others might think, we want you to have choices and to be true to yourself. You have the right and the power to be safe and to defend yourself if need be. You don't have to get into the elevator with the scary person just so they won't feel bad. You don't have to be nice to the drunk at the party to avoid making a scene. It is okay if they think you're crazy if you end up alive and intact on the other side of an encounter. Dead right is still dead and no one ever died of embarrassment.
We want you to listen to that still, small voice inside that tells you when something is not quite right about a situation. We want you to acknowledge that tingling "spidey-sense," that prickle on the back of your neck, that uneasiness, or that sneaking suspicion and we want you to act on it instead of dismissing it as being paranoid, over-reacting, or being silly/foolish.
How do you react to a feeling when all you have is a feeling? It was that question that led to the formation of our introductory self-defense course. When we looked at other self-defense training programs, we found that the techniques they taught were designed for an all-out attack. Yet, if you used these techniques because of a "feeling" it was very possible that you would be seen as the attacker and the person who made you feel threatened would be seen as the victim. Instead, too many people would hesitate to use what they had been taught until a physical assault was in progress.
We came up with the idea of the innocuous assault. We define this as a perceived threat that begins as an "innocent" mistake, or an excuse to violate your personal space. Whether the perpetrator is someone known to you (perhaps a relative or an acquaintance) or a friendly stranger, we decided that our participants needed to have tools that they could use to prevent the innocuous assault and respond to it as necessary.
So, how do you prevent the innocuous assault? You start by listening to that voice and acting on it. Is the guy in the elevator feeling creepy to you? Wait for the next one. Does something about the guy at the bar not feel right, especially since he insists on chatting you up even after you told him politely you are not interested? Stop being polite, or pretend to answer your phone and have an important conversation with your mom, the highway patrol officer. Are you walking out to your car and getting a "feeling" because when you parked it, it was light and there were plenty of people around, but now it is deserted and dark? Set your key fob alarm off and find something to do for a couple of minutes. Alarms are loud and annoying. People don't pay attention to them other than to be annoyed by them, so they rarely stay around them for more than a couple of minutes.
But what about the assault that no one notices? How about the male relative that always insists on long, tight hugs that make you uncomfortable? Or the guy who, when you shake his hand, doesn't let go? An elbow that always seems to "accidentally" be in the way is one method to make him stop wanting that hug, as is the habit of including someone else in a "group hug." Pointing your finger will help you resist the grip of the person shaking your hand and "coughing" allows you to get your hand back, or make him want to back up to avoid getting coughed on.
We want you to always have a response, and we want that response to be one that you will use. As the old saying goes, "When your only tool is a hammer, soon every problem looks like a nail." We will help you respond to situations that require something other than a hammer, and if the situation does call for one, we'll help you choose between the claw hammer and the 5lb. Sledge.