Today, many people claim to teach integrity, but how? At the Three Coral Dojo, we begin by example. The Sensei teaches Karate from Okinawa, the birthplace of Karate. You will find that he does not lead by words but by example.
Some people are controlled by others but if a child can learn to control himself, success is around the corner. Self-discipline is not taught by fear but by example. As someone who has earned a Medical Doctorate and has taught Doctoral candidates, the example is clear, education is important and to learn what you must, you need to control yourself.
Unlike many sport activities where there is a winner and a loser, then everyone is given participation trophies, in Karate the student is competing against themselves what that means is that students learn to strive. Striving like this makes the ranks earned meaningful. Rank is based on milestones that a student can achieve by effort.
People forget that self-defense is a last resort. in martial art related sports you have two contestants who are the same size and weight. Let’s face it Karate is a Japanese word that was not used as the name for martial arts until 1920 when it was used for the Martial art of the island of Okinawa. Now many claim to teach “karate”.
In 2008, April was declared sexual assault awareness month. Today, with the news of assaults on college campuses, it is time to get serious. Some women’s health organizations have tried to spread the information about this subject and some well-meaning Martial arts facilities have attempted to hold self-defense seminars but low attendance at these events fails to drive the point home.
The FBI states that only 37% of all rapes are reported and the National Crime Victimization survey (NCV) says less that 30.7% are reported. Even with the unreported numbers, we still have too many attacks. The statistics show that one in eight adult women are victims of forcible rape, that number is for rape alone. Boys are not safe either as one in six boys have been sexually assaulted before the age of 16. The simple truth is that numbers are meaningless. News stories of individual stories get people to pay attention for a little bit, maybe a month, then the public seems to forget about it. .
Recently, sexual assaults and rape of women on college and university campuses have made news. SDSU in particular has been the site of many of these assaults. In August 2014, KPBS reported that between the years of 2010-2014 there had been 65 sexual assaults reported on campus. These numbers suggest that on average there are 16 ¼ sexual assaults reported on SDSU campus per year. If we take into consideration that only 30% of the sexual assaults are reported nationally, it could be inferred that there were in the range of 49 sexual assaults on campus a year. SDSU is not alone in this. The number from UCSD reached 13 average reported sexual assaults in the last three year for a probable 39 assaults a year.
The San Diego public has its own stories too. A few years ago, news broke about Diane Gonzalez’s suspected murderer who was captured in Mexico. You might remember that her ex-husband kidnapped her, raped her, and then killed her on the San Diego City College campus. He had a previous arrest for domestic violence against another woman. Do you remember reading about Chelsea King and Amber Dubois? They were killed by the same man who was paroled for sexual assault on a 13 year old neighbor.
By the time the crime happens, it is too late to prevent it unfortunately most people believe it will never happen to their families. Look at the numbers, one in eight college-aged women has been raped and one in six boys will be sexually assaulted by 16. Chances are you already know someone who has been a victim of a sexual assault, the questions is was it a friend, a family member or a child?
While you have a right to go where you want to and be with whom you want, it is self-evident that you cannot control anyone but yourself. If you educate yourself as to what makes someone more likely to be victimized you can use this to prevent an assault. Like a disease, the best ways is to avoid that situation that will cause it. It is rare to see an assault in a crowded, well-lit area, while poorly lit areas that look like a movie crime scene are areas where assaults are probable.
Again, you have the right to go wherever you want, but if you go to isolated areas, are distracted with phones or headsets, and/or go to areas where crime happens, you increase your chances of being attacked. We have to remember that the predator is looking hard for a victim. Follow your instincts - if something feels "off" it probably is so trust your instincts.
Know who you are with. In 2008 there were 4.9 million violent crimes and most of these were committed by an acquaintance. If someone has been arrested in the past, there is a 68% chance that they will be arrested again and usually for the same crime. To put it another way, for every 3 people arrested, 2 will be arrested again for same type of crime. Would you want to take a 68% chance of becoming a victim? Because if you are with someone who was jailed for assault in the past there is a 68% chance they will assault someone again. What about taking that chance with your child becoming a victim? Remember more than 2/3 of all sexual assaults were committed by people known to the victims.
People rarely think about what they are really preventing. There is the obvious but there are also many long term effects of the attack including Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Post-traumatic stress disorder, Depression, Drug abuse, eating disorders, suicide, and the list continues! What you can see is that even if you survive the attack, there is much more you will have to deal. You know that some STDs, such as herpes and HIV, are life-long diseases. So even if the psychological wounds heal, those who have been sexually assaulted may have a life-time reminder of the event.
If you have considered a Self-defense program, be aware as they are not all are worthwhile. Many have you prepare as if you know that an attack is imminent by getting in a “fighting stance.” Remember that in a real assault situation, the victim is not aware the attack was going to happen. If the victim did know there would be an attack they would have left before it. The predator has chosen the time, place, and victim, they have all the advantages. If a “self-defense” class is taught like a sporting bout, with weight classes and ready positions, it is training you for a dual not defense.
Remember that an attack is not fair, there are no rules and if you limit yourself by what is “right” or “fair” you are limiting your chance of survival. The attacker has already chosen everything. For a self-defense program to work, it must put you in positions in which you are in a complete disadvantage. The program should teach you to fight dirty and make every move count you don’t have time for a set-up and you may only have one chance
There is also a problem with some of classes that rely of fine motor skills. Any Biologist can tell you that if you feel danger or are scared, your body floods with adrenalin. Adrenalin inhibits fine motor movement so those skill are worthless. That is the same problem that you will have if you use “Personal Protection weapons” where you have to point and shoot. Fine motor skills will be inhibited. What is needed has to be simple and effective in ending the encounter with minimum amount of damage to the victim. It must also be repeated constantly to avoid having it forgotten.
It is not just the victim who is under the effects of adrenaline (epinephrine) but so is the attacker. Ask anyone who works in surgery about why epinephrine is used in some surgeries and you will be told that it helps control bleeding and decrease the sensation of pain. So what would be the point of pain compliance under the effects of epinephrine, which numbs the pain.
Some classes may teach you to swing wildly may work but if you hit a weak point of the body damage will occur that is more likely to end the fight. Also if you hit wrong with a wild punch you can end up breaking your own hand.
The better self-defense class would avoid fine movements and use gross movements. As sexual assaults are close contact, knees, elbows and short punches to vulnerable parts of the body must be taught. Remember that biting is something that can be used and nothing marks someone as a suspect as a chunk of meat taken out of their body.
When choosing “self-defense” class, make sure it is realistic and rational. Unless you are a Marine walking into a battle, you will not expecting to run into an attack so it is pointless to train that way. If you are unfortunate enough to have to fight, you will be surprised and will not have time to stretch or to get in a "fighting stance."
The best way to prevent becoming a victim of sexual assault is to think. Listen to those who have survived a sexual assault and if you take a self defense class ask why something will work. If a technique does not work in the class, it will not work in reality, again IF IT DOES NOT WORK, IT WILL NOT WORK! If you are walking alone, avoid using a phone, texting, or listening to music. Remember that if you are distracted, you will not be aware of what hits you. If someone has been arrested for sexual assault, do not be alone with that person. If you have children, keep them safe from predators by never leaving them with someone with a criminal past.
National Criminal Victimization Survey, 1996
Rape in America, A Report to the Nation, Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center, 1992
Sexual Abuse of Males: Prevalence and lasting Effects and Resources, 1997
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