Last week, I did something awesome.
But let’s rewind to six weeks ago, when it all began. My CEO, who happens to be passionate about women’s rights, had organized for all of us ladies in the office to go on a ‘self-defence’ course. I wouldn’t have been all that interested, except that a friend of mine shared a video of herself participating in this same course, and holy cow, I could scarcely believe my eyes. But more on that later.
So we all file in and take a seat. Up in front stands a stocky, cheeky-looking guy, talking animatedly and with various ladies. His name is Mark Grobbelaar. He’s got tattoos, wears shorts and a faded black shirt with what looks like a red martial arts emblem clinging to the left breast. He launches his talk with a combination of some borderline-hysteria-inducing remarks about the difference between the male species and the female species. Brave man, in a room full of girls.
Mark leads us into the story of Alison. You can read more about her here, but in December 1994, she was abducted outside her home, raped, stabbed, disemboweled, and finally, with her throat slit repeatedly, she was left for dead. Except… she didn’t die. Instead, she got up, and decided to live. Over time and certain circumstances, and with Alison’s input and experience, Mark, who is qualified in karate (6th Dan, not bad), has created a ground-breaking self-defence course, so far removed from any course I have ever seen or personally done. Naming the organization “Girl Power” at first (the entire room titters, and Mark rolls his eyes), Mark, with Alison’s endorsement, has gradually built a revolutionary anti-abuse community that is now (mercifully) called “Woman INpowered”.
So, this is what you may visualize when you think of self-defence:
Maybe when you look in the mirror, you do see Wonder Woman. Perhaps you strike an elegant kung-fu pose and think to yourself, “Ooooh yeah, I can handle myself.” Perhaps, when pounding your lounge cushions back into shape, you envision how very capable you’d be in beating the kak out of a would-be assailant.
Fact is, unless you’re a lady with a 6th Dan in karate, you’re smaller than most men, physically weaker, and would have difficulty getting out of a man’s grip if it really came to that. And chances are, if you’ve done a self-defence course with 11 manoeuvres that end with you tossing your assailant aside like he’s a featherweight, it’s not going to go how you imagined it. Fact is, you’re just not The Hulk. And as Mark so eloquently puts it, “If you can’t immobilize your attacker, you’ll just piss him off.”
So what does that mean for us as ladies? Does that leave us with any choice when faced with violent crime?
Woman INpowered says YES.
The gems of truth shared by Mark and Woman INpowered are designed to first and foremost keep you out of trouble. By bringing understanding into how a situation can change from potentially dangerous to full-blown lethal, Mark teaches you how to recognize the signs and take action immediately. Among other valuable core concepts, Mark also provokes you to think smart and listen to that beautiful thing we call instinct. Sixth sense. Inner voice. Oh, if only we trusted ourselves, how many women like Alison could have escape brutal rape, abuse and even murder!
Finally, if all else fails. Mark equips you with what he calls a ‘gun with one bullet in it’, and he teaches you how and where to use it, in order to completely immobilize your attacker. Which brings me back to the awesome thing I did last week, and my very own video to prove it.
I didn’t expect it to be such an emotional journey. I mean, I was just attending so I could learn how to kick ass. But when I did punch through that plank… What a gift, the INpowering gift of choice.
While we chose to spread the WIP course over several weeks, they are able to customize the course content to fit your schedule and your occasion, whether you have one afternoon to spare, or an extended period of time to invest. Ladies, don’t put this off. Call your girlfriends, and then contact Mark to join the Woman INpowered community.
You will never forget. You will never be the same.