Not a day has gone by since Esme Barrera's murder that she hasn't been the subject of a conversation, news or blog update, or Facebook post.
The man who killed Miss Barrera and assaulted at least one other woman New Year's Eve night is still at large. The following Saturday my free monthly women-only self defense class exploded - I walked out into the lobby of FnF after teaching a small intro class to see the lobby filled with over 50 new women. It blew my mind. Several other martial arts schools in Austin are also offering free women's classes, which is wonderful. The more people who train the better.
However...I read the text version of a KXAN news report a couple of days ago that was really cool, right up until the moment that it made my blood run cold.
There is a kung fu school in town offering 2 free months of free self defense classes to women. This is no small thing, as they have to pay an instructor, the light bill etc. The school rep was also giving some good advice and I was very happy reading the story until I read that they teach women you should only ever strike an attacker once and then run away. Grrr...
His larger point, which I agree with, is that it's not appropriate to increase the danger you're already in by standing there trying to beat the guy up if you have the opportunity to escape. This is true. Get the hell out of there and call the cops. It's the reason I run wildly out of class sometimes during a demonstration after I successfully defend against my "attacker".
What I strongly disagree with is the idea that you should assume that one punch will neutralize an attacker. Hey, maybe it will take one punch. That would be awesome. Maybe it will take 3 punches, 2 elbows to the face, and a strike to the groin. Maybe you can start shrieking like a banshee, as one of this fugitive's victims did, and he'll split. What I'm getting at is we have no idea what it will take to neutralize an attacker in some future unforseen attack!
I'm pretty much never the strongest or fastest person on the mat. Sad fact. But I'm certainly willing to keep trying if at first I don't succeed. So if I seriously wanted to harm someone and had the means and opportunity to do so, I really think it would take it would take more than one punch from most people to stop me. I'm not saying they couldn't stop me. Punching me in the face would certainly be a good start. Think how much more true this would be when trying to defend against someone bigger, stronger, and accustomed to violence.
Ultimately, I want to say this: 1) You CAN learn to defend yourself, but you must be willing to do whatever the situation requires, whether that's striking once and running, fighting like a demon, screaming, hiding, etc.
2) Please use your own brain when it comes to people telling you about self defense. If it doesn't sound right, ask for an explanation. It's not rude, just ask nicely. But ASK. And then try it out for yourself.