BY RACHEL CHEESEMAN, FOUNDER OF STREET SMART SELF DEFENSE
Happy New Year everyone! Now that the barrage of holiday spirit is behind us, we can finally take a moment to pause and breathe. While doing so, we can’t help but notice the airwaves are flooded with those relentless “get fit offers” – the same old “new year, new you” mantra we’ve been listening to for decades. This is perhaps the most prominent time of year when we assess the collateral damage that grandma’s famous Christmas cookies did to our waistline. Fitness clubs target this time of year to boost their membership base because they know many people are striving to make the tell-tale New Year’s Resolution – lose weight. However, the purpose of this month’s article isn’t to address weight loss, but if that’s on your list of resolutions for the new-year, by all means go for it! Rather, let’s take a closer look at the word “resolution” and what it means concerning your personal safety.
In self-defense, the word “resolution” involves solving a very contentious matter – the matter between life and death. For example, a prior student of mine found herself in a “very contentious situation” involving her own personal safety. She was walking home one evening after work. It was dark, but not late, so she didn’t particularly fear for her safety. She decided to take a shortcut behind a car wash. While doing so, she came across a lone man walking toward her. She didn’t feel threatened, so she kept walking. As they passed each other, the man suddenly reached out and grabbed her by the throat in a choke hold. He kept saying to her “You’re gonna die today!” Her immediate thought was “NO I’M NOT!” All she had was a small bag with a can of tuna, so she tightly gripped the bag and began striking the attacker with the can of tuna! She just kept hitting him over and over until he finally let go and ran away. Keep in mind, this woman had no prior self-defense training before the incident. She simply made the “resolution” that she was NOT going to die today, which significantly increased her chances of survival.
As you can see, be it a child or an adult, the “resolution” to survive has no barrier. Survival is an instinct. But in doing so hinges on your ability to make a firm decision – the “resolution” to not give up! So as we welcome the year 2017, let’s not forget the all-important “resolution” that influences all others. You ARE worth it!
Rachel Cheeseman is a 2nd degree black belt and has studied the martial arts for the past 28 years. She founded Street Smart Self Defense Academy in Erie, PA 17 years ago to empower women, due to the rape of her sister in her off-campus college apartment. She is a certified instructor for the national full-contact self-defense program called “Model Mugging” and a certified instructor for the MUNIO Self Defense Workshops. Rachel is also a member of and former seminar instructor for the American Women’s Self Defense Association, and she has been inducted into the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame, Action Martial Arts Magazine Hall of Honors and the World Karate Union Hall of Fame