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Back Off, Buddy! 

A course in self-defense from the Girl Army

Wednesday, Sep 8 2004
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Though members of the female sex can claim a number of distinct benefits -- slumber parties, multiple orgasms, velvety skin -- there are times when the disadvantages of being a chick stand out. I'm speaking here of things most women have experienced at one time or another: a leering man on a street corner trying to stare you down, a pervert pressing against you on the bus, a creepy guy following you menacingly down the block late at night.

Sure, you could make certain you're escorted at all times by a Rottweiler or your burly big brother. But why walk fearfully through life when the women's collective Girl Army's "Six Week Basics Course" on self-defense can teach you how to subdue sleazeballs all by yourself? Plus, with maximum tuition set at $100 and no tuition required at all for those who can't afford it, these lessons are a bargain.

Instructor/Girl Army member Fred Brookes says that the class starts by covering self-confidence. Female and trans-men and -women participants learn how to move and stand assertively, and how to address intimidators directly to get them to back off. Students then get a little physical training, "easy strikes that you don't have to know how to box to do, and where to hit so you don't have to hit hard," Brookes says. (Read: Go for the nose, throat, solar plexus, eyes, knees, or the good ol' tender groin area.) Along with such steps pupils learn escape methods, like how to wrench your arm away from someone who grabs your wrists, or how to fight off an attack from behind.

Each lesson in the six-week series is a three-hour demo and practice session, and the last class is devoted to all-out throwdowns with volunteer male "attackers" wearing padding. Yeah, it sounds a little intimidating, but Brookes insists it's utterly exhilarating, affirming exuberantly, "It's just amazing seeing women kick ass!"

About The Author

Joyce Slaton

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