She Took Me Down
Her name was Belinda, and she lived in the house at the top of the hill. The only house with only dirt for a front yard, the house where the doberman pinschers lived, trained to lunge and snarl at any passersby. And she rode my bus.
I usually kept away from her, even sitting as far as possible from her on the bus. But this day we were sitting a couple rows from each other, and she was being really mean to some kid sitting near us.
When her vitriol turned and shot into me, I said, “You need to stop, or you’re gonna get beat up.” I was thinking about my big brother, who often came to my defense. He would teach her a lesson.
Well that was stupid of me. He didn’t ride the middle school kids’ bus and as far as Belinda was concerned, I was slapping her face and challenging her to a duel.
To compound the situation, we shared the same bus stop. So when the door opened and we stepped out, she started pushing me. “Oh you’re gonna beat me up? What’re you waiting for? Huh?” And she shoved my shoulders, and I hit the ground, bolted up and ran all the way down the hill to my best friend’s house, where I hid for a couple hours.
And Belinda? She stood and laughed and called me a coward. And I believed her.
I was foolish at best. At least in that situation.
First of all, I should’ve never told her she was gonna get beat up. Wasn’t I effectively challenging her to a fight? What did I expect?
Secondly, I had zero defense against her physical attacks. None. She (like most kids in our neighborhood) was bigger than me. And I had no training in how to fight or defend myself. None.
I was easily knocked down and defeated. And that one event crushed my belief about myself for years. Decades.
We’re Basically Clueless
Let’s face it. Most women have no idea how to defend themselves from anybody, from a bully to an attacker bent on killing her. For many of us, even our words tend to acquiesce. We aren’t traditionally trained to stand strong and defend ourselves.
We’re the ones who need rescuing, not the rescuers. The damsels in distress. Right?
Do you know how to stand your ground if it comes to a physical altercation?
Did you read the stats in the “Maimed in Body and Wrecked Forever?…” post?
Do you believe you’re the one person who will never have to defend yourself?
I sure hope not. Because I really do care about you. The whole reason we’re here, our heart’s cry at Tigress’ Roar – is to empower women to stand their ground. To teach you how to drop into a strong stance, to take the fight back, and stop the violence right then and there.
For everyone’s sake.
So you can go back home after all is said and done, the police called, medical attention sought as needed.
So you can go home and live your life, long and strong, and healthy in all ways. See your children grow up and enjoy your grandbabies.
Getting Down to Brass Tacks
We’ve talked about the ugly reality of violence against women.
We’ve talked about the need to back our stance with action.
Now it’s time to get into the nitty gritty of where it all begins.
Let’s talk about our center of gravity.
This area, if managed well, can mean the difference between falling down injured and an attacker having their way – and standing firm and living to thrive, not just survive.
Some Fun Science
First let’s consider some definitions:
Gravity: a downward pull or force the earth exerts on your body.
Center of Gravity (a.k.a. Center of Mass): the point where the body’s weight is concentrated. It’s the average location in a 3-dimensional space from which all the other parts of the body balance.
Now let’s take a look at how center of gravity applies to our bodies. The good news is, this information is so practical because every bit I’m about to describe is right there inside of all of us.
So let’s go down past the waist to the hips. See in the image, above, right up the middle there’s the sacrum. Notice the 5 vertical fused bones there. And at the second sacral (2), voila! That’s right about where your center of gravity lives. Normally.
But our bodies (unlike a baseball, whose center of gravity is always smack dab in the middle), change shape when we move around. So our center of gravity also moves around. And in all kinds of interesting ways when we haul luggage, children, pets, boxes, etc., etc., ad infinitum.
Now the center of gravity is the concentration of strength the whole body depends on to stay up and not fall, or to fall skillfully and get back up.
We want to learn how to gain and retain balance, because generally speaking, falling is unpleasant (especially the sudden stop at the end). How can we game the system, so to speak? How can we hack the human body, balance-wise, to find the best stability in all this center of gravity talk?
Now If you have chronic lower back pain like I do, your center of gravity is all concentrated in your… lower back. Taunting you. Strengthening that area and all supporting muscles (think 360 degrees around your middle) will help to balance it all out and encourage that naughty center of gravity to migrate back in front of the sacrum where it belongs.
You may have back problems, swayback in your lower back, or a myriad of other ways we can mess ourselves up and throw our balance off. Even just standing incorrectly can make us a target, easily taken out.
Now that we’ve set a solid foundation, let’s talk about how all of this applies to self-defense.
What we Hear and What it Means
“Lower your stance, bend your knees…”
“Think deep and wide…”
“Imagine a bowling ball in your hip area…”
You’ll hear this kind of talk a lot in class as we’re learning to stand strong. Literally.
And so much more…
Keep a straight back, even when angling. Don’t hunch your shoulders. Let your base of support – your legs – support you. Yes, like that. Turn your foot. Ah, feel the difference?
Feel the support right there between your feet. That’s what it feels like to be centered and strong. Feel that weight, right there in your belly.
We begin with finding our own center of gravity. Then we go from there. We train how to regain and maintain our center of gravity, no matter what comes at us.
Leaning too far forward, shoulders hunched, more weight on one foot than the other, knees locked, can literally throw us off in a fight. We need training to position those hips properly, roll those shoulders back, chest up, and stand firm. And stop the attack then and there.
Because we’re tired of bullies having the final say.
We’re not stupid – we know we need continuous training to stand strong in this crazy world.
And we’re serious enough to start the process as soon as possible and keep it going as long as we live.
Are you ready to find and train your center?
Are you ready to be strong from the inside-out?
It’s time to begin.
It’s time to trade in your princess gown for some armor, your glass slippers for some warrior boots.