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The ABC’s of Empowerment Self-Defense

Self-defense is more than just how hard you can hit. It is the full spectrum of tools that you can use to protect yourself every single day. We utilize skills from self-defense in our decision-making processes, such as when we communicate with people, when we drive or do activities, and more! Self-defense is really so expansive that we thought we would give you a better idea of what to expect when you take a self-defense class with IMPACT by breaking it down for you ABC-style.

The Letter D

“Denial is the shock absorber for the soul. It protects us until we are equipped to cope with reality”

- C.S. Lewis

Denial is a common path people take when it comes to dangerous situations. There is almost a feeling of “If I can’t see it, it’s not happening.” Denial is a very common reaction to stress. Denial can last a few seconds, a few hours, a few days, it can even last years. It is a common coping mechanism used to survive until you can process what happened.

In some instances, denial can counter intuition and intuitive cues. Gavin de Becker makes a good point about these situations in his book The Gift of Fear: “Denial is a save-now-pay-later scheme, a contract written entirely in small print, for in the long run, the denying person knows the truth on some level, and it causes a constant low-grade anxiety.” Oftentimes, denial comes from societal pressures, especially with people raised as female. We are often told “You’re just being silly,” “Oh, they’re harmless,” or any other variation of external intuition denial. This societal gaslighting can often be internalized to the point where we ignore our intuition. This denial becomes the common neural pathway we take when facing danger. So, here are some ways to change that denial neural pathway:

Recognize context clues:

Humans, in general, are good at pattern recognition. We can predict behavior or actions with just a few clues. For example, if you see me at a grocery store, and you see that I have eggs, flour, sugar, and chocolate chips in my cart, you can reasonably deduce that I am going to bake something like chocolate chip cookies. We can use that same process to predict human behavior. So, let’s change the situation. I’m walking down a busy street and a person across the street makes eye contact with me and starts moving in the same direction I’m moving. They are making sure that I am constantly in sight, and eventually they cross the street in front of me and walk towards me. Rather than thinking “well maybe they just want to go to the Starbucks behind me”, I will trust what I see and feel so that I can recognize that this person is going to talk to me. I don’t need to think about the worst of the situation, but I need to realize that this person did a lot to make sure they got in front of me.

Ask “What’s going on” internally:

Asking questions, such as “what’s going on,” is a great way to move into problem-solving mode instead of staying in the denial or panic state. Asking questions that have a definitive answer will help us gather information. Once we have some information, we can decide what we’re going to do with it.

Trust your intuition:

Your intuition is a gift you were born with whose sole purpose is your survival. Your intuition is constantly learning from experiences, from caregivers, from friends and family, you name it. Your intuition doesn’t communicate with words or cold, hard logic. It sends you a feeling that means “something is going on, pay attention.”

You are the expert on your personal safety. Trust your feelings and trust yourself.

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