Essence Magazine – February 1990

Fighting Chance

With Model Mugging, on innovative form of self-defense,
you can be your own strike force

essence magazine self defensePREVENTION

By E. K. Daufin

Toma coached me, “Bring your knee up hard. “I almost couldn’t do it. I’d never struck a man in the groin before, not in my college judo class, not once during the eight years my brother was molesting me, not during three attempted date rapes — not ever. “Never hit your brother there,” echoed an old recording of my father’s voice. “No matter what Johnny does to you, never kick him there, “admonished the grade school teacher from a Brooklyn playground of long ago.

Yet now, 12 inches from my face, a different sort of teacher — self-defense instructor — was giving me permission to do the forbidden to protect myself.

In a split second, my hips pulled forward with the force of all the times they had been violated, my knee jerked up with power I didn’t know I had. For all the times I’d been forced to remain silent, I screamed like a banshee “Nooooooool”

This was my first day in Model Mugging, an innovative self-defense program that is catching on across the country. Already more than 8,000 women have become empowered to protect themselves using practical self-defense.

side thrust kick to headCrime statistics show that a rape occurs every six minutes in the United States, an aggravated assault every 35 seconds. Over 50 percent of assaults on women occur in their homes, 80 percent by an unarmed assailant. Black women are even more vulnerable to assault because proportionally more women of color live in urban, high-crime areas.

In this increasingly dangerous world, we must learn to protect ourselves. We cannot depend on others to take care of us, nor can we put our safety into the hands of others. Regardless of age and individual height and weight, all women must learn to recognize the power that our bodies hold, and we must be taught to use that power.

That’s where Model Mugging comes in. Unlike other self-defense classes, Model Mugging teaches you to defend yourself in a realistic, or “model,” situation. From day one, you administer full-force knockout blows to an instructor clad in 60 pounds of protective suiting. Along with learning lifesaving tactics, you get a great strength and aerobic workout.

Matt Thomas, a black belt in karate, judo and Japanese fencing, conceived Model Mugging after one of his fellow karate students, a second-degree black belt, was brutally raped. “I was outraged,” he says. After studying thousands of police files on sexual assault, he found that men usually throw women to the ground during attack. Typical self-defense classes, however, rarely teach women how to fight while on their backs. So, rather than “duke it out,” Model Mugging teaches you to fight lying down as well as standing up.

Undaunted by 60 pounds of armor, Lauren Leslie shows instructor Jim Sorrentino who’s the boss.

Undaunted by 60 pounds of armor, Lauren Leslie shows instructor Jim Sorrentino who’s the boss.

Self-defense really works. Model Mugging officials say that 42 of the 44 graduates who reported being physically attacked disabled their assailants. More than 100 graduates reported successfully using noncombat Model Mugging defenses. The classes cost $400 (some scholarships are available), and the course takes six weeks to complete. For information about Model Mugging chapters near you, contact Model Mugging or call 800-590-4687.

If Model Mugging isn’t offered in your area, sign up for a traditional self-defense and martial arts class offered in your area.

Be sure, however, that the instructor focuses as much on practical lifesaving moves as on style. Ask him or her to teach you how to defend yourself in the circumstances under which you will most likely be attacked in your own bed or on the ground.

E.K Daufin, Ph.D., graduated from Model Mugging last October.


Original article in Essence Magazine, February 1990 – page 27; download file size is 1.17 MB

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