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September 21, 2015

Writing About: Self Defense Instructors


A couple of weeks ago, I talked about Monster Truck Driving, the profession of Donovan Goldwyn from my Disaster Crimes series. Well, now it’s Beth Kennedy’s turn! She is a self-defense instructor and in Seismic Crimes we get to see her in action for the first time.

Here are a few things to remember if you ever want to write about a self-defense instructor or class:

1. Studio/Gym

Where does your character go to take self-defense classes? Or if your character is the instructor, where does he/she hold classes? Describe the building and the room. It should be spacious enough for a blue mat to cover most of the ground and several pairs of individuals to go one-on-one. In Seismic Crimes, I got to create a visual of Beth’s studio. I mentioned the front desk and what was on the walls to inspire the students.
TIP: Give the studio a unique name that highlights the purpose of the class. Beth Kennedy is all about teaching women who experience domestic violence at home and want to be able to defend themselves a fighting chance. That’s why her studio is called The Fighting Chance.
2. Equipment

A blue mat is not the only thing that needs to be in a studio, but also safety gear for the students to wear such as helmets, mitts, and even body gear to protect their torso and legs.

Aside from safety equipment, there will also be teaching equipment: dummies students can punch and kick, punching bags, striking pads that fit along the arms, over hands, and are large enough to hold in front of the body.

3. Techniques

There are many self-defense techniques out there that your character can learn in a class or teach students. Everyone should first learn the proper stance to get into to minimize getting hit and to prepare the body to strike. How to throw a good punch is the next biggest obstacle followed by how to strike with your feet. After that, a self-defense instructor can teach how to get out of holds such as wrist holds, choke holds, and even bear hugs. Scenarios are the best thing for instructors to teach. For example: what to do if someone grabs you from behind or how to incapacitate an attacker who is in front of you.
TIP: Watch videos (you can find a bunch on YouTube) and even go to a real class for research. Firsthand experience is always the best.

Stay tuned for easy self-defense techniques everyone should know. 



QUESTIONS: Have you participated in a self-defense class? Would you? What do you think of The Fighting Chance as a studio name?

68 comments:

Christine Rains said...

I do wonder why the mats are usually always blue. I've rarely seen any of a different color! I took four years of karate in high school and two years of judo in college. I didn't like the sparring but I loved learning the katas.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Chrys - I've never done a self-defence class ... but probably should do at some stage ... I rely on common sense. It'd be a great thing for youngsters to learn. Cheers Hilary

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

I haven't participated in a self-defense class but it would be interesting as well as a good idea with so much violence in our world today. I bet You Tube has some great videos. Interesting post. Might have to look into this. Mema in action. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

The Fighting Chance is a great name.
My wife took a self-defense class years ago and she still remembers some of the moves. Fortunately, she's never had a reason to use them. (And I'm glad she's never used them on me!)

Mary Kirkland said...

I've seen a self defense class but never participated. Great tips though.

Lisa Thomson said...

I love the name of her studio. What a great purpose for a self defense studio! I've never taken a class but it would be interesting and a great workout, no doubt. Nice tips, Chrys. I think maybe my character Mrs. Winterburn should take some self defense ;)

Carrie-Anne said...

My ex has a brown belt in taekwando, though he hasn't done anything with it in years. We went into his old studio a few times, but he never followed up with refresher classes.

One of the landmarks I looked for when my family drove into Pittsburgh, or nearby Glenshaw to visit my maternal grandparents, was Judo Shin's studio. I don't know if it still has that name, or if it's moved.

Jeffrey Scott said...

The Fighting Chance sounds like a great name for Self Defence studio.
The closest I've been to being in a self defence class is watching Napoleon Dynamite.
Grab my arm. The other arm. MY other arm.

SK Anthony said...

It's totally on my list to take self defense classes, and I would so go to one with that studio name. The Fighting Chance sounds perfect!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I learned self-defense in a judo gym. I don't remember the name though.

Sarah Foster said...

We learned some self defense in gym class my senior year. I still remember a few things, but luckily have never needed to use them.

Chrys Fey said...

I'm not sure why they are blue. I don't recall ever seeing another color.

Chrys Fey said...

I would like to do a self-defense class some time. Everyone should know the basics.

Chrys Fey said...

Absolutely! It's always good to be prepared. I did watch a lot of You Tube videos for my writing. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks, Alex!

That's awesome! And I'm glad she's never had to use them...not even on you. :P

Chrys Fey said...

I've only see a class on TV. Not in person. It would be good research to watch a real one though.

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks, Lisa! I would like to take one for the workout and for the peace of mind. I'm not sure how much I could so with my back, though.

Chrys Fey said...

A brown belt is very good! Too bad he didn't continue with it. He could've taught his own class!

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks, Jeffrey!

I've never seen Napoleon Dynamite....

Chrys Fey said...

It's on mine too. Awesome! I'm glad you approve of the name. :D

Chrys Fey said...

That's neat! I'll remember not to mess with you. ;)

Jeffrey Scott said...

Chrys, if you like a chuckle, do yourself a favour and rent it today!
Well, if you like goofy humour.
You'll be quoting with me in no time. ;)
Oh, and of course there was what I learned from Mr. Miyagi as well.

Jay Noel said...

I took martial arts almost all of my life, and I even taught self defense to teachers. Sad, I know, but it's a necessary evil.

Brandon Ax said...

I have been doing martial arts most of my life, so I can agree knowing your stuff is important. I always cringe a little at bad fight scenes. This is some great info.

Chrys Fey said...

Huh. They never taught the seniors in my old school. It should be something every high school teaches though, especially since so many girls are attacked in college.

Chrys Fey said...

Very cool! You should post a video of you doing some martial arts. I'd like to see that. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I may not know much about martial arts, but I cringe at bad fight scenes too. Sometimes it's so obvious that it's fake.

Chrys Fey said...

I think the reason I never watched it is because I don't like stupid comedies and...to me...it always seemed stupid.

I loved Mr. Miyagi! :D

Patsy said...

The Fighting Chance is a great name.

This post shows how much we need to know about the occupation of any of our characters.

diedre Knight said...

As my day job requires me to sometimes lurk in uncomfortable settings, I did consider taking a self-defense class. But since I've had my two girls cruising with me folks seem to give us a wide berth. Some even dive off the road!
My daughter was almost a brown belt but gave it up because "it was getting physical" Ha!
That's a great name for the studio and good tips for describing how I manage to leap tall building sometimes ;-) Just teasin'!

Pat Hatt said...

If I ever participated in such a class I'd probably break, I'll just use your tips and write about it should it come up lol

Sandra Cox said...

Ooh, ooh. This one I could write on:) And I like Fighting Chance.

Liz A. said...

It would be a very good idea to take a self defense class as research.

betty said...

I do like the name Fighting Chance. I haven't take a self defense course; probably a good idea for anyone, male or female :)

betty

J.H. Moncrieff said...

Not an official self-defence class, but I've been training in muay thai kickboxing for years. It's great for self-defence, especially the knee and elbow strikes.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

This was an interesting (and useful) post. Thanks, I've bookmarked it. My current protagonist ends up in a couple of scenes where she certainly wishes she had taken self-defense classes. In Book Two, she probably will.

emaginette said...

I love the name, and did take self-defense in high school. I remember a lot of it. My teacher was very clear. The attacker can not get up again. If they do--you're through. :-)

Anna from Elements of Writing

TBM said...

For home use, I have a purple mat, but have never seen that color in a gym. I might like it more ;)

Vanessa Morgan said...

I've never taken such a class. I don't think I'll like it.

Crystal Collier said...

I've never taken self defense, but I was raised by my "ninja" brothers. I know my stuff. ;)

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks!

Exactly. Research into an occupations you've never had is a must.

Chrys Fey said...

"Some even dive off the road!" HAHAHA!!! :P

Almost a brown belt? Wow! That's amazing. Too bad she stopped then.

Thank you!

Chrys Fey said...

LOL! I would break too.

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks, Sandra! :)

Chrys Fey said...

It would be a good idea.

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks! :)

Great idea for people of both sexes and every age.

Chrys Fey said...

Muay thai kickboxing? That's awesome! :D

Chrys Fey said...

Oh, that's great! You'll also benefit from my upcoming post with easy self-defense tips everyone should know. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks! "If they do--you're through." That's a good saying to remember.

Chrys Fey said...

I'd like purple mats more too. So would Beth. ;)

Chrys Fey said...

That's okay. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Haha! I learned a lot of self--defense from my older brother too. ;)

Loni Townsend said...

I've learned a few defensive maneuvers from the trooper trainer here at work. I really want to get in on the Krav Maga class they hope to start. Work is really my only option right now.

If schools had something during lunch or before work, like at 6AM, I'd so do it. Unfortunately, most classes take place in the evening, and that's the only time I get to spend with my family.

Chrys Fey said...

Oh, a trooper trainer? That's neat.

How unfortunate that they don't have classes in the morning. I wonder if you could suggest that and change things.

Tyrean Martinson said...

I think that's a great name! Unfortunately, I had some self-defense training in elementary school from the daughter of a self-defense instructor. We both needed it to deal with a gang of bullies that ran our playground. The recess teachers never believed any of us that complained and the bullies were smart about picking on lone victims and dragging them out of sight around a corner of the building. So, I learned how and where to kick (not the groin but the knee joint, ankle, and foot) and how to use my bodyweight against opponents in second and third grade. I never learned how to throw a punch properly because my elbow and the back of my head (into a jaw) was sufficient.

Tyrean Martinson said...

were not was . . . sorry, bad grammar in the last sentence

Birgit said...

I love the name "Fighting Chance". I think that is perfect and has many layers. I thought of taking a defense class when I was young but not any more since you would find me weeping in a little heap somewhere:)

J.H. Moncrieff said...

Best exercise in the world!

Lux G. said...

It would be wonderful and beneficial to attend one of those classes. I haven't attended one yet.

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks!

I hate bullies! And it's so terrible that you and your friend needed to learn self-defense in elementary school.

And don't worry about bad grammar. I knew what you meant. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Thank you, Birgit! Weeping in a heap? Oh I think you're stronger than you think. :)

Chrys Fey said...

It sure would be.

sage said...

I have not taken any self-defense classes, but have taken Tai Chi classes and often do such exercises in the early morning hours.

Stephen Tremp said...

Great post! I have a lot of action scenes in my first books and I looked at a lot of YouTube videos. I've had some martial arts classes but not enough to be an advanced belt. So the videos came in handy. Now I'm thinking I should rekindle that fire.

Chrys Fey said...

Tai Chi classes are neat, although I've never done it. I just watch. ;)

Chrys Fey said...

YouTube videos are a huge help! If you enjoyed your martial arts classes, I think you should rekindle that fire. :)

Unknown said...

I've never taken one, but I work out like crazy and could probably kick some serious ass if need be. great tips! did you ever see that episode of Friends where Ross goes to the instuctor to find out how to attack women, b/c he's trying to teach Rachel and Phoebe about Unagi? lol I always think of that!

Chrys Fey said...

Haha! I love that! No one mess with Beth Kennedy or Beth Summer. ;)

Yes, I have seen that episode. It was actually on not too long ago. Epic!