By Josh Barrett, Staff Writer
On Thursday night Seppuwa Falls Recreation Center hosted a Woman’s Self Defense Clinic entitled: Finding the Warrior Woman Within. For those who attended and expected a lesson in tasering and pepper spraying, they got much more than they bargained for.
The night began with a reading from the Vagina Monologues and what was described as a team building exercise. Every woman, all from different walks of life were told to hold hands and jump in unison. “The glass ceiling is an illusion in our own minds, break it with every leap” yelled Deborah Richards the organizer and instructor.
I am not going to lie I felt out of place I of course being the target of many of the night’s exercises which included role playing, therapeutic yelling, followed by two hours of hand to hand combat instruction. “Imagine yourself in your kitchen you just finished your version Teeny Tortellini which you deviated a bit from the Hamburger Helper recipe, when you serve it, you get a look of disgust. What are you going to do?” Deborah asked her class. One participant said, “You throw a Lean Cuisine box in his face”. The woman laughed and applauded, all except Deborah. “No then he thinks it’s a joke, like a dog you need to teach it a lesson”. When I was told my assignment by my editor I knew I would be the only male but I was not prepared for what happened next. I suddenly saw Deborah grab me by my shoulders and slam me onto the mat. She then said, “That’s a lesson”.
The reaction was different although there was a portion that applauded, the rest of the room varied in there responses, from disbelief at the instructor to some that saw her and had a terrified look, I was in that group.
The night went on and I avoided eye contact with the instructor at all costs, however this did not discourage her to use me as a dummy. As I was thrown to the ground for was probably for the eighth time that night, I then looked at the white board and it said on the bottom “knee to the groin exercise”. I knew I had to leave before then.
Fortunately we were given some time to have a snack. I spoke with Deborah while nursing a sore neck from the last take down. Deborah on the other hand was dipping her Luna bar into a cup of Activia with the calm cool demeanor,very similar to a Bond villain. “How did that feel ?” she asked. It took a while to get a response out I felt it hard to breath, I would later find out I had fractured my sternum on a landing. “I am alright just need some time to lay on my futon”. She laughed at my response, pleased to see me in good spirits.
I asked her what made her organize this? “I felt after my divorce that throughout it all I had been unfair to myself and was not aware of it, and if I empower some women to see past what society expects of them, then I have made a difference”.
I left that seminar with something more than a fractured sternum , which was a little more respect for my girlfriend and what she can do to me, and maybe just maybe I had found “the warrior woman within”.