The statistics of assault against women are staggering. Young women especially are disproportionately the victims of violence and sexual assault. Every 98 seconds an American woman is sexually assaulted, so women globally are speaking out against victimization in hopes of changing this reality. On Nov. 1, California Western’s Women’s Law Caucus and Thomas Jefferson School of Law’s Women’s Law Association teamed to host a self-defense seminar at Cal Western, perfectly timed to be a link between female-empowering words and action.
With classes over on this Wednesday evening, it was tempting to go home or continue work on any number of dreaded outlines. But for a dozen women from Cal Western and Thomas Jefferson, they instead chose to learn defense techniques that could possibly save them from becoming a statistic.
“Good guys won’t make you feel uncomfortable.” A common-sense concept, but so many women have genteel etiquette deeply ingrained, which does not include shouting at strangers. Even when the stranger is going to hurt them. The instructor, Master Donald Tittle of the White Dragon Martial Arts Studios, who has decades of martial arts experience, assured the group that you do not have to be a bodybuilder to stop an attack.
“Don’t look like prey.” Self-defense requires awareness, intuition, and attitude. Predators are looking for sheep, i.e. vulnerable targets. The tips were simple: walk tall, look confident in your route and do not be afraid to shout LOUDLY at someone to back off if they encroach your personal space. Be aggressive. Cowards do not attack lions.
Phrases like “blunt force trauma” and “crushed trachea” took on tangible meanings as Master Tittle brought out the heavy bags. With instructions to cheat in a street fight, he put students through a series of escalating punches and kicks aimed at dislocating knees and nose cartilage. Emphasizing the importance of stability and leverage, Master Tittle demonstrated how, by using your own body weight and the laws of physics, anyone could strategically defend themselves if attacked by a much larger person.
Other useful safety moves involved escaping front, back, and wrist holds. These techniques required bent elbows, swinging arms, and “kitten claws” to eyelids. While everyone laughed at the terminology and made meowling noises, there was little hesitation as open palm strikes and groin kicks rained down on innocent heavy bags. An hour flew by, and after Master Tittle bowed and said his goodbyes, the once weary students left the session with a little more confidence in their steps, no silent lambs in sight.
Like everything in life, these moves take practice to execute and repetition before they become muscle memory. With that in mind, Master Tittle offered all Cal Western students a FREE week of instruction at any of the nine White Dragon studios in Southern California: just mention the Cal Western Women’s Law Caucus self-defense seminar. Learn more about Donald Tittle (who teaches at the La Mesa studio) and White Dragon training here.
Upcoming Women’s Law Caucus event: Be sure to attend WLC’s “Women in Politics” event on Wednesday, Nov. 15 in Room 2B from 5:30-7:30 p.m., featuring former Encinitas councilwoman Lisa Shaffer, Nora Vargas from Planned Parenthood, and Christina Prejean from the National Women’s Political Caucus of San Diego. Food will be served. No RSVP required.