Thursday, August 29, 2013

Don't Mess with the GRC Women's Team

Elbows, the heals of the hands, and knees... these are some of our best weapons for defending ourselves, especially if you are a bony distance runner.

On Sunday, ten members of the women's team took a two-hour course on self defense, taught by Marine Sergeant Laurie Porsch and her much-abused assistant, Andrew. A colleague of GRC runner, Sean Barrett, Laurie is an Instructor of Combat Conditioning and Martial Arts in the Marine Corps, and teaches Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and the Femme Fatale Fitness Boot Camp at the Academy for Body Efficient Tactical Arts (BETA Academy) in NW DC.

The course revolved around the three basic principles of self-defense:
  • Whenever possible, avoid situations/ people that might put you in danger.
  • Do not protect your property. (It can be replaced.)
  • If attacked, respond violently with the intent to escape. Do whatever you can to avoid being taken to a "secondary crime scene," where the attacker has full control.
Per the final point, Laurie and Andrew walked us through a series of drills to practice the best way to fight off an attacker. As they donned pads and mouth guards, we elbowed, kneed, and fought our way through the morning. Though there is no way to predict how an attack might happen, they guided us through scenarios wherein we were grabbed from behind, choked, and knocked to the ground. We learned the best ways to regain control in these compromising (and terrifying) situations. Laurie emphasized that we should aim for our attacker's vision, ability to breathe, or ability to walk, in order to aid our escape. And the key is escaping, whether or not we injure our attacker or ourselves in the process.

Laurie taught us valuable skills that (though we hope we will never need them) may save our lives one day. Yet, despite the underlying seriousness of the course content, we had a solid workout, found our (often unseen) inner aggression, and the exercises frequently ended in peals of laughter.

For more pictures, see our Facebook Album.

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