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The ABC’s of Empowerment Self-Defense - The Letter J

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 J: Judgment

“Intuitions are not to be ignored. They represent data processed too fast for the conscious mind to comprehend.” - Sherlock Holmes

When we talk about the ABCD’s, we ask the question what’s going on in the potentially dangerous situation and break it down into three parts. What’s going on with me? What’s going on around me? And what’s going on with the potential assailant? When we ask these questions, we are trying to be judgment free. For example, if we see a person stumbling, rather than saying that person’s drunk, we say the person is stumbling. There are lots of reasons why a person might be stumbling. Yes, intoxication may be one of those reasons, but the person could have a head or leg injury; they might have a disability. So we list behaviors without judging the behavior, until we get more information.

This step of listing judgment-free behaviors can also help you figure out the difference between bias and intuitive cues. If someone had a traumatic experience with a person wearing suspenders, they might have a trauma response when they see another person in suspenders. So, when they ask themselves what’s going on and list the behaviors that they see, it might help them realize that the person is just wearing suspenders and not doing anything suspicious. Or they’ll see the red flag behaviors this person may be putting off.

We can’t always control our trauma responses. This step might come after you leave the potentially dangerous situation (hopefully without having to fight!!!) and you think back on what happened. The more questions we ask ourselves before and after situations, the more clarity we can have on our internalized bias and the more experience we’ll have pointing out red flag behaviors that are judgment free.

So what are some ways we can differentiate between intuitive cues and bias?

Intuitive Cues only last as long as the stimulus is present.

Our intuitive cues will pass if we take action or the stimulus stops. Therefore, if you worry before and/or after a situation, you are likely experiencing Bias. For instance, if Alex worries all the time, even when her kids are home in bed, that they will be abused at school, this is likely bias. However, if she feels uneasy when she sees a certain teacher at school drop off, she can test for Intuition by talking to that teacher about her child’s knowledge about body-safety or not dropping her kid off that day. If she feels relieved after taking action, it was likely Intuition.

Intuitive Cues are stimulated by circumstances IN THE PRESENT.

Bias and trauma responses come from experiences in the past. We may be “Triggered” by seeing a person dressed similarly to a past assailant. Asking, “What’s going on NOW” may help us to differentiate. (ex: Yes, there is a man in a trench coat, however is not my ex-partner)

Intuition rarely supplies evidence to support itself.

Intuition does not take the time to defend its assessment. Instead, it sends physical cues to us and expects us to take action without question. For instance, if Dan’s house is on fire, his intuition may know that it is on fire because his olfactory sense picked up the subtle smell of smoke and his thermoreception (Thermoreception is the sense by which an organism perceives temperatures. The details of how temperature receptors work are still being investigated.) perceived a change in room temperature. However, Intuition will not pause to break all of that down to his consciousness. Instead, it will just supply him with an urgent physical need to get up and get out of his house. It may only be upon later reflection that he recalls that he smelled smoke or felt hot. Bias, on the other hand, would supply Dan with lots of reasons why he should worry about his house being on fire (“Do I smell smoke? Are the batteries working in the fire alarm? Did I leave the oven on?”).

Intuition is uniquely our own.

Bias is a social construct. Is this my thought? Does this thought sound like something my mother would say?

Our work is not specifically aimed at dispelling bias, however, doing the work of identifying and moving past our biases will help us to avoid danger and address it more effectively, experience fewer unnecessary limitations about where we “can” go, and be able to connect more meaningfully and authentically with other people.

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