FREEZE OR FIGHT?
CHOOSING NOT TO BE A VICTIM
ON THE COVER (Editorial)
The sinister-looking character on the cover of this issue of Uptrend is a “model mugger,” a mock attacker who was part of a recent noon-hour presentation sponsored by the WISE Club.
Model Mugging is a women’s self-defense and empowerment course that was developed 13 years ago in response to the brutal rape of a female black belt Karate champion who was unable to defend herself with her martial arts expertise. Model Mugging is like many other women’s self-defense courses in that instructors teach physical and psychological techniques to use against an assailant.
What makes Model Mugging different is that students actually fight full-force in realistic rape scenarios, learning to deliver a knock-out blow to the model mugger. Because sexual assault victims almost invariably end up on the ground, and because women tend to have comparatively little strength in their arms but to have relatively powerful legs, participants are taught to fight from the ground using their legs, feet, and knees.
Those attending the noon-hour demonstration seemed to be very favorably impressed with and enthusiastic about Model Mugging. Many expressed the hope that the course can be made available here at AT&T-BCS in the near future.
When Model Mugging courses were offered in the Denver area this spring, a number of women from AT&T attended. Betty Naughton was one of those women; she shares some of her reactions to the course in the following article.
FREEZE OR FIGHT? CHOOSING NOT TO BE A VICTIM
By Betty Naughton
Model Mugging is a truly unique self-defense class where women learn to defend themselves against realistic attacks from a “model mugger.” The model mugger wears a Be a Victim heavily padded suit and the women fight full force, learning to stop a mugger by knocking him out. I took this class in March 1987.
In the first class, we learned several techniques that we practiced individually and with each other. So far, the class felt fairly familiar and comfortable. I had taken a self-defense course and practiced a little karate years before, and this was the sort of thing we had done in those classes. Then the muggers came out, in their incredibly padded suits (which weigh at least 50 pounds). Now we would use the techniques we had just learned to “knock out” the mugger.
It was my turn. The mugger grabbed me and pulled me to the ground. It felt like it happened very fast (although later, on the video tapes, it looked like slow motion). I couldn’t remember the techniques. I was afraid. He was huge. Everything that happened next was a blur. I don’t know how long we struggled.
Finally I heard a voice, an instructor coaching me. “Take your time. Look for openings. Use your voice. Get on your side. Kick.” I started to remember part of what we had just learned. But how could I possibly kick a real person? I tentatively reached out with my leg. “Good. Now kick hard! Harder!” I kicked, and kicked, and kicked again. The mugger was still there, coming at me.
I heard that voice again. “Look at your target and kick. Now KICK!” I realized that I hadn’t seen him while I kicked — I’d probably closed my eyes. Then I heard the roomful of voices yelling “Kick! Kick!” I looked at the huge head, hollered a loud “NO,” and kicked as hard as I could. The mugger went still. I lay there relieved, finally breathing. Then I heard the voice again. “Get up. It’s not over. Check out the situation. Go for help.”
After my turn with the mugger was over, I was tired, out of breath, and shaking. I felt inadequate and frustrated. I had forgotten most of the techniques. I couldn’t remember what I had done. It seemed like I had been there forever, although everything happened so fast that I didn’t have time to think about what to do. Then I heard the instructors and the other students congratulating me. I started to feel triumphant and exhilarated. I had done it! I had knocked out the mugger!
All the emotions of fear and vulnerability that I had put aside while I was fighting now began to surface, and I started sobbing. In a little while the sobs subsided and I thought about what had happened. I had not given in to a “freeze” response. I had fought and won. I had kept my power. I felt wonderful!
During each class after that, I had the opportunity to defend myself from the mugger three or four times. After I graduated, I realized how far I had come — from never having fought in my life to having fought and won probably 15 or 20 times.
Original article in Uptrends Magazine – Spring 1987 – pages 2 to 3; download file size is 2.08 MB
Other Model Mugging Self Defense Articles