New Woman Magazine – February 1995

Personal Power

Inner Peace

new womanBy Carrie Hutchinson

It can take anywhere from a day to a lifetime to find what brings you inner serenity. But it is out there, and it’s waiting to be discovered.

Find the warrior within.

You’re lying quietly on the floor. Suddenly a man pins you down, whispers obscenities in your ear, and threatens to kill you…

This is nearly every woman’s worst nightmare, and for some, a horrific and gruesome reality.

But for the dozen people who attended a recent “Model Mugging” weekend basic course, this scenario had an empowering rather than a tragic conclusion.

The man lying on you wearing a huge padded suit is Matt Thomas. And he is there to help you rather than hurt you.

Model Mugging is more than a self-defence course; you learn to defend yourself physically and emotionally, increase your self-esteem and confront barriers and fears in your life.

self defense new woman

Thomas and co-instructor Denise Loveday — peace comes from knowing you can defend yourself from attack.

At the beginning of the course we are all doubtful. Here we are, women (and some men) of varying ages, sizes and athletic abilities, facing a full-force battle with a martial arts expert who, in a padded suit that makes him look like the Michelin Man about to play grid iron, stands two meters tall and weighs about 120 kilos. Even during the initial “lite” battles, I’m scared. But, as Thomas explains, it’s the fear that makes us strong.

In this state of heightened awareness, moves we’ve learnt become part of, what he calls, our “muscle memory”. By the end of the course, my muscle memory is reacting with extremely powerful results.

Some of the participants have been assaulted. The workshop, as Thomas says, “helps them change endings”.

Before one “mugging” Thomas asks whether I’ve had a nasty experience I’d like to overcome; an attacker’s name or words he might have used. “No,” I tell him, “just give me your average garbage-mouthed mugger.” With the lights dimmed to blackness and my classmates breathless in a corner of the room, Thomas attacks. Only now I know how to defend myself. I’ve become a warrior and it feels fantastic!

By the final “psycho” mugging (you must deliver a knockout blow or Thomas keeps coming at you) the man in the suit is no longer my new friend, Matt. He is my enemy and I want to kill him. What happens for the following 30 seconds (the longest of my life!) remains a mystery to me. All I remember is the whistle blowing (meaning your opponent is knocked out), staggering off the blue mats to get someone to “dial 000”, and nearly passing out. I look at the class. They are staring at me in open-mouthed wonder. I flash them a victory smile. I need never feel afraid again. Muggers, watch out.

Malt Thomas will be bringing his course to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane in May, 1995.

NEW WOMAN FEBRUARY 1995

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Original article in New Woman Magazine – February 1995 – page 75; download file size is 1.6 MB.

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