Several years ago I was asked to work with a Seniors group on some simple self-defense. There had been some incidents in the area with some Sr. Citizens being mugged and the community center we had a program at thought it would be a valuable service.
The program was going fairly well as we had about 20 participants all working on the different skills. About half way through the scheduled class one of the ladies decided to sit out. Within moments more and more of the participants begin to sit out. I got a little concerned that I was going a little too fast and asking too much of the participants.
So we took a break and I asked the initial lady if she was okay. She responded that she was and that she thought the class was very important but not for her as she probably would never attempt to defend herself. To which several of the other participants chorused in agreement.
I was a little take back by the attitude. As I prodded a little deeper it became apparent that she felt she just wasn’t capable of defending herself so attempting to in the event she was assaulted just wouldn’t be worth the effort. I was crushed by her comments and realized she wasn’t the only participant who had the same opinion.
Knowing that the opinion was based on false concepts I asked her a question. Did she have any grandchildren? She instantly lighted up and her who expression changed. She was very animated as she described a beautiful young granddaughter.
With this I presented her with a scenario of being at the park with her wonderful young granddaughter. I proposed the possibility of getting separated from her. I asked what would happen if she discovered her granddaughter in the grasp of a strange man attempting to harm her in some fashion.
She stood up, pointed at me and stated with such conviction “He’d be a dead MAN!” it sent chills through me. (I believe several of the other participants also.) So I couldn’t help but ask, “So you have what it takes to protect your granddaughter but not yourself?” She looked at me kind of funny for a few seconds, then an amazing calmness spread across her face.
She stood up, looked around to her fellow participants and asked ‘What are we doing sitting around, let’s get out there and learn how to kick some butt!”
It was an amazing moment and reinforced the concept that you may not be able take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself first.