Hey Ladies! Thanks for stopping by!
This past week ADPE hosted a self defense workshop for students and members for free! Me being the person that I am will not pass up an opportunity to attend something that is free. Not only was this workshop free, it was EXTREMELY informative! Our Instructor was Aaron Pynenberg, who has an extensive military and police force background. The focus of Aaron’s presentation was on ambush style attackers. These attackers approach you with the intent that they want to harm you or want something from you. It is highly likely that in this sort of attack you will not know your attacker/attackers. Aaron shared with us that most attackers in an urban setting are male or a group of men and most likely will be right handed.
Aaron informed us that the attacker will most likely attack you in one of three ways:
1. They will Haymaker Punch you. This is the type of punch that is delivered right to your face intending for you to be knocked out. If you are aware of the people approaching you, it is easy to identify if your attacker is going to punch you, It takes the attacker’s whole body to wind up for the punch. They whip their arm out to side and have very little elbow movement as follow through with the punch. This type of punch received its name as it mimics the motion of  cutting hay by hand.
2. Give you a really hard shove/push. This method is pretty self explanatory, your attackers main goal is to render you defenseless and take you to the ground.
3. They will try to tackle you to the ground.
As Aaron explained these methods of attack, he then transitioned into how you as a person will react in the intense moment of stress. Humans under stress have several reactions/instincts that happen to them. I am going to share with you a few that we covered. You will experience an adrenaline dump. This adrenaline dump will cause your heart rate to increase, your blood pressure to sky rocket, and you will have a temporary surge of power. Few other reactions occur within you, your perception becomes skewed, and  you may develop tunnel vision, auditory exclusion, and loss of fine motor function. All of these reactions kick in due to human instincts of survival and to help focus on the situation in front of you.
The reason it is important for you to know how your body will react if you are attacked is you only have a few seconds to make a decision. In those few seconds your adrenaline will provide you with enough power to put up a fight discouraging your attacker. After the adrenaline wears off you will become exhausted and extremely tired. So you will need to use that adrenaline to your advantage.
One of the biggest things that I took away from this workshop is that when walking alone and you come upon anyone who makes you uncomfortable you should acknowledge their presence, almost like you saying, “I see you, you see me, and I am going to keep moving on.” Here in the Midwest people especially women are concerned with offending someone if they have made you feel uncomfortable. Don’t worry if you offend someone who has made you comfortable. If it was an accident they will apologize and move on. If they become defensive this is when you should be closely watching their facial expressions and body language preparing for a possible attack.
So now what? Your in a situation where a person has approached you, has made you extremely uncomfortable, and you are anticipating a possible attack. The fist step Aaron recommended was to verbally communicate to the person to stop or that they have made you uncomfortable. If this fails and they are still approaching you, clear your hands of any objects that you may be holding so that your focus will be on your attacker and not what you are holding. If you are concerned about your purse throw it behind you. Prepare yourself by positioning your feet into a strong base, feet shoulder with apart, with one foot slightly behind the other, and feet both pointing the same direction. This stance will provide a solid base and help you maintain your balance.
Next we learned how to defend ourselves against a Haymaker Punch. If your attacker is going to punch you they will wind up, as they are winding up you should extend you arms with your pinkies pointing forward. It is important for your pinkies forward because then the bones in your forearm will be driven into your attacker when the swing at you. Be sure that your arms are extended out past 90 degrees, this will prevent your arms from collapsing in on you.As your attack is about to a step into your attacker and thrust your arms forward with your fingers splayed out.
In the picture below you will see Owner Paula and I practicing this defensive move. (P.S. Even pretending to throw a punch at the owner of Aerial Dance is terrifying!)  Notice how Owner Paula has her right arm driven into my chest and clavicle, and her left are is blocking the punching arm.


I am a terrible attacker. I had a hard time not smiling. Paula even gave my face a little love tap to remind me not to smile.

We both practiced this defensive move several times. I ended up with a bruise on my bicep from Paula reacting to my punch and Paula had to use a towel as padding on her chest, because I have really bony elbows. When practicing this move it a extremely important that you take a step forward toward your attacker. It strengthens your base and gives you more power when thrusting your arms into your attacker.

Look at this amazing group of ladies, who took the time to educate themselves to help prevent them from becoming a victim.

This work shop was amazing! If you are attacked always put up a fight scream and yell to cause a scene. It could mean the differences of life or death!
If you were unable to attend, I would highly recommend that you take any classes like this that Aerial Dance may offer in the future!
Until Next Time!