PTSD and Self-Defense

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Self-Defense

Working through aspects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) using self-defense can be helpful to many survivors of violence find new joy in life. Consideration of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is essential during the self-defense training process, especially when working with survivors of sexual assault. Men, too, have experienced healing factors offered through scenario based training and safe use of the padded assailant during the Men’s Model Mugging Class.

The Model Mugging course offers students a journey toward healing that provides a reward for overcoming fear of helplessness, the development of options, and more freedom to find joy in life. The experiences offered through the women’s basic self-defense course allow students with past trauma to working with fear by changing fear into positive energy. Their experiences can become a “healing multiplier” when working with therapists.

Model Mugging Self-Defense is a supportive designed program that emphasizes and tailors self-defense courses to enhance a survivor’s psychological healing process. Model Mugging instructors are well versed in the dynamics of PTSD, sometimes referred to as the Rape Trauma Syndrome. Working with the rape trauma syndrome is an important aspect of training women in self-defense commonly overlooked in traditional self-defense classes. There are unique dynamics involved in teaching women fighting skills revolving around prior sexual violation.

An untrained instructor can severely injure a survivor psychologically and emotionally. Many women who take the course are survivors of sexual assault, molestation, incest, domestic violence, and/or stalking. Model Mugging instructors are sensitive to the feelings and past histories of survivors of sexual assault, incest, and molestation. In some Model Mugging classes, 80% of the students were survivors of sexual assault.

The Model Mugging system is more than just “punching and kicking.” The program sensitively addresses the emotions and personal issues related to past abuses and assaults that often surface when addressing the topics of sexual assault, incest, and molestation, intimate partner abuse, and stalking during the course. The martial science system of Model Mugging can assist women to work through prior pain, phobias, fear, and terror of being harmed again. During the course, if a student who experiences a flashback or “breakdown”, she is assisted in refocusing and finding empowerment through her female instructor’s role modeling and coaching in each scenario. Survivors come away from the course feeling victorious and overcoming feelings of victimization.

Survivors of sexual assault who become graduates of the program while receiving concurrent therapy commonly state, “Fighting the assailant was more emotionally healing than the years they spent in therapy.” This is an internal phenomenon occurring within each survivor. Instructors are not therapists, but the intense healing occurs because rape traumatizes a woman mentally, physically, and emotionally. While therapy usually concentrates on mental and emotional methods of healing, the overall breakthroughs in the healing process may be accelerated from the course because students physically deal with their fears in a psycho-dramatic way created from the scenarios.

An important factor addressed in the course is overcoming the natural inhibitions of hurting another person. For many people this can be difficult even in order to protect one’s self. This process occurs at many levels within the course structure, but one of the more powerful methods is the benefit from the supportive small group environment. Women bond and support one another in a safe environment. The instructor team models positive male and female relationship while showing women it is OK to protect themselves even if it means causing injury to another person trying to cause harm first. Graduates who have had to defend themselves reported they could hear their classmates cheering for them as they fought back and the group support they received in class giving additional courage and strength to defeat a real assailant.

Prospective students in therapy are always recommended to consult with their therapist before taking the course. Many psychologists have taken Model Mugging courses and have found them to very beneficial as well as practical. Model Mugging effectively trains women mentally, physically, and emotionally in a positive and empowering way. Some therapists have taken the course with their clients.


Other links describing what makes the Model Mugging Self-Defense program different:

Supportive Designed Self Defense Program

Padded Assailant

Female Co-Instructors

Muscle Memory / Operant Conditioning

Emotions and Self-Confidence

Progressive Training & Controlled Stress

Gentle Art of Conflict De-Escalation

Personal Defense & Crime Prevention