One of 2016’s best lessons for me is that unexpected things can happen just like that!
Take, for example, one of my goals last year. I really wanted to get into self-defense. When 2016 started, I had an informative chat with a former coworker of mine who has a black belt; he recommended a few schools to check out. I did my research and asked around in online forums. I didn’t get far, unfortunately. I think I sent an e-mail to one of the schools nearby and, when I didn’t get a reply, didn’t feel compelled to follow up.
Then, when I was overseas last December, my dad mentioned he knew someone who knew someone who gave self-defense classes. Did I want to go for a one-on-one session? Hell yeah!
So, one hot and humid afternoon, I found myself in a studio in Makati, facing Roland Isla of Isla Mandirigma Kali. What I liked about it was that it was focused on self-defense… he didn’t just teach me how to strike and kick; he taught me about how to scan the environment for threats and about the mindset I should have (fighting shouldn’t be the first resort; and the aim is to get as far away as quickly as possible, not a fighting showdown.)
We went through several scenarios and basic steps I could do to defend myself. I learned about some simple “routines” that would hopefully incapacitate my attacker enough to give me time to flee. It was tiring, but it was super fun! I felt stronger and (cheesy as it sounds) more empowered that I was in a better position to defend myself.
If I was still in the Philippines I’d definitely be attending his regular classes. However, I knew that I’d eventually forget what I’d learned and that I’d likely panic if placed in an actual situation without regular practice. So I decided that self-defense would be my “thing” for February and started looking around for similar schools in Sydney. I came across 360 Degree Self Defence which was, fortunately, a quick drive from where I live.
I had my first session yesterday and, like my other class, it was also super fun! It was just an hour, but one day later and I’m definitely feeling the effects. We practiced some sample scenarios and I got into some basic moves. There is definitely a lot to learn! I can tell that I need to improve my upper-body strength. I also need to build my muscle memory as I found myself panicking during one of the exercises.
Hopefully I won’t be placed in a situation where I actually have to use these skills, but I’m feeling a bit more confident now that I’m taking steps to learn how to defend myself!