I’m Chinese, but not your typical build.
I’m 5’8″, very athletic build.
I have always had the shoulders of a fighter and thighs which tell the tales of my days as Competitive Figure Skater.
I have good arms and am particularly proud of the definition in my triceps and forearms.
I often compare the muscles in my forearm to the waiter’s at dinner, usually proud of the fact that mine are a bit better, but probably not, but still, maybe.
I’m not the size of girl you would think could be the target of a physical attack, but it did happen.
It has happened, on more than one occasion, but this one particular time sticks out as one of my crazier stories.
People always ask me, “What do I do if I get attacked?”
It’s as though there is some magical answer or technique they think they can learn in the event of an attack.
You can’t prepare for the unpredictable, but you can train with ability to make adjustments, but having said this, this is me, talking the way a trainer does to a fighter or just the way a fighter talks to another fighter.
This is not something you can develop, unless you are training to be a fighter.
When confronted with an attack, the first thing most people do is freeze or start screaming.
Both are reactions, not responses to the action taking place.
The only way to respond to an act of aggression is to have experiences with acts of aggression.
This is also why dad tells people who want to fight that the first lesson they have to learn is about how to get beat up, literally.
You have to take the punches, you have to take the kicks, you have to respond to the throws, you have to have the control to face it all and not react the way the body normally does to a physical attack, or any kind of attack for that matter.
Self defense class without actually sparring is absolute BULLSHIT.
Self Defense without actually sparring, causes more harm than good.
Self Defense course in a controlled environment creates such a false sense of what the environment of an attack is actually like.
The best way to deal with an attack is having the ability to avoid an attack.
Develop your self awareness, this is your most valuable tool for survival.
Physically engaging should always be avoided at all costs, even if you do train to fight.
Any real fighter would know this.
The night I got attacked in NYC’s West Village I had stopped to pick up laundry detergent for my mother.
We lived in a very nice neighborhood, all NYU.
Bleecker is a busy street and I used to wait for the school bus straight across the street from where I was attacked.
I was on my cell phone, they were smaller then, this was before the iPhone.
I was chattering away on my phone making my Hampton Plans for the Weekend and I had just finished sparring at Gleason’s that night.
Here’s a funny fact, my parents picked me up every single night from Gleason’s. I think I am the only full contact fighter in the world who had parents who picked her up after training. What started car service was the trouble I had encountered on the subway several times on my way home. After enough chance encounters, mom and dad didn’t want to take anymore chances and even though I feel as though I am the hulk, others didn’t always find my physical appearance to be quite that intimidating.
So, on the phone, chattering away, I felt someone inching up behind me a couple of times and I turned to check, the guy would fall back.
After 3-4 times he rushed ahead of me and I could tell he was listening for my voice to judge the distance, but I also couldn’t believe what I was sensing, I was aware, but I also kinda ignored my instincts.
My family, especially my brother always had a way of telling me I never knew what I was feeling or thinking, that I was always exaggerating things, so I became accustomed to telling my instincts to shut up, the instant my instincts kicked in.
This time I was half aware and half ignoring and out of nowhere this guy drops levels and shoots in at my waste.
I always hated partaking take-down defense, but I never complained after this day.
I sprawled out and when you sprawl your forearms fall on the tops/back of the guy’s shoulders, which, if he isn’t aware, knocks him down to the ground, cause you pop off him on contact to get back on your feet.
This whole time I never let go of the groceries.
This whole entire time I was terrified out of my mind, because the intent was so scary, so malicious, so filthy and I just felt so violated.
I stood in shock shouting at him and he charged at me, I threw a solid right, cell phone still in hand.
He paused and I kept shouting “what do you want?”, “why are you doing this to me?” and he charged at me again, I threw 5 more right hands, the last one dropped him on the hood of a car.
I just kept shouting at him, it made no sense, but it was how I responded to this kind of threat.
I still held my groceries and cell phone.
He finally gets up off the hood and this is the strange part about me, when he turned to run from me I went from being scared to enraged that he wouldn’t stand and face me, so I go to chase him.
He notices me chasing him and kneels down to pull out a knife from his boot and that’s where some amount of sense kicks in.
I stopped and realized I didn’t feel like getting stabbed, but now I was confused, my instinct was to call my mother, but then I wondered if I should call the cops.
I called my mom and said “I don’t know what just happened, but I think I got attacked, but I dropped him on the 6th shot am I gonna get in trouble?”
Obviously I wasn’t thinking too clearly.
Mom was freaked out and said “What?!?! Where are you, stay there, I’m coming to get you” to which I replied, “I’m not staying where I got attacked, I’m at Gristedes, I’m so close, I’m walking home”
I was attacked on the opposite side of my building complex.
I was so confused.
They never caught the guy, but I had been doing full contact for a few years at that point and that is the only way I was able to defend myself physically.
By nature men are faster and stronger, you never know what form of attack they are going to approach you with and I was very lucky to have take down defense.
I tell everyone, the best way to avoid an attack is to be Self Aware, avoid a physical altercation and no matter how tough you are as a female, it’s never good to engage with a guy physically, it’s just nature that does give most men the physical edge, especially anyone who would initiate and attack on a female. They probably have experience and they definitely aren’t right in the head.
If you feel threatened find a place to go into, this is what I did when I got surrounded by a group of Indian guys in London, it happened twice.
Both times I was very obviously lost and trying to figure out directions on my phone.
They come at you in groups and surround you and actually try to get you to physically engage and close in on you.
I don’t know what it is with British culture, I was in Carnaby Square a very busy spot and not one single person helped me, it was awful.
I stayed as calm as I could and found my way into the nearest shop.
These guys actually waited outside for a bit, until they saw me calling someone on my cell phone, then they disappeared.
Stay self aware and off your cell phones, always have an understanding of your surroundings and stay calm, don’t show that they can get a rise out of you, this is part of their tactic.
It’s not easy being woman, but we can always protect ourselves by staying aware of our environment.