Daily Life – 1 November 2006

Model Mugging: A Self–Defense Course For Women

By Leisure Guy

Model Mugging is an interesting and effective (in practice—that is, in actual real–life attack situations) self–defense technique for women.

I attended a graduation exercise in a Model Mugging course in Santa Cruz some years back, and I was impressed. The male instructors are suited in full defensive regalia—not just a cup, but thick padding on arms and legs and a full padded helmet. The reason: so that the students can learn to hit with the actual force they will use should they be attacked. Even with all the protection, an instructor can expect to be knocked unconscious once or twice every course.

(Model Mugging male instructors have not been knocked unconscious since 1985 due to improvements in protective body armor.)

The students during the course move through a variety of attack scenarios, from direct frontal attacks through walk–by attacks (the assailant approaches and then passes the victim to attack from behind), attacks made on a seated victim, and even attacks on victims lying down covered with bedclothes (as an attack by an intruder on a sleeping victim). Students learn how to use their legs—their strongest muscles—in fighting back, how to fight back should they be knocked to the ground, and so on.

It’s a demanding course in emotional terms. Some of the students came to learn defensive techniques after having been attacked, and during the graduation exercise, some students fought back successfully and then burst into tears. The other students crowded around to comfort them, and it is the clear that the course also has a therapeutic component.

One interesting statistic: We were told that the average assailant has done 17 attacks (non-substantiated source/statistic), so that the victim is totally outclassed just on the basis of experience. The victim is going through something for the first time, trying to work out a response on the fly, while the attacker has the advantage of experience and knows what to expect and how to deal with it.

But during the 12–week course, the students go through 54 very realistic simulated attacks, with full force. So if a student later faces an assailant, the experience tables are turned. The assailant just doesn’t have the depth of experience in dealing with physical assault that this particular victim does, and he finds himself out of his depth.

One graduate was attacked when she was alone on a Boston subway platform late at night. She successfully resisted the attack and in the process broke the assailant’s arm and a couple of his ribs. He tried to sue, but the disparity in their sizes made his contention that she had attacked him ridiculous.

(This case mentioned here occurred in 1974 and was not the case that was judicially denied.)

It’s a course well worth Googling.

You can usually find it in major cities, though it started on the West Coast.

There’s some evidence that people who truly know how to defend themselves carry themselves differently, and that attackers shy away from such people, preferring those who carry themselves like victims: fearful, tentative, etc.


Original Article In: Daily Life – 1 November 2006

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