Supporters of Love

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Taking Control, By: Bessie Nicole Kostidis

Self-Defense Class for Women

Coming in to contact with Viet Nguyen, an instructor with Chicagoland’s Carlson Gracie Mixed Martial Arts Team, and Christina Belmont was a blessing as this led me to meet their more than gracious staff in Merrillville, IN.  I learned more about how they use their expertise to help women in need of self-defense skills.

At Carlson Gracie’s location in Aurora, IL last summer, a self- defense class teaching important life skills over the course of four weeks, was offered to women living in a local domestic violence shelter.  Most of which had been residing there due to their husbands or boyfriends stalking them or abusing them physically, emotionally, and financially.  Through mind and body training seminars, the women gained a new sense of empowerment and confidence as well as “awareness and unarmed techniques to employ during an attack.”
Carlson Gracie Mixed Martial Arts  

The course went beyond teaching attack defenses. The women learned to fully incorporate and adopt an attitude of safety for them as well as their children. This included how to be fully aware of an attacker’s methods and opportunities.  Women gained skills on to quickly and appropriately respond to intrusions to one’s personal space in ways that will increase and restore a woman’s sense of control.
Women can learn necessary self-defense techniques in a safe environment.

Testimonials for Carlson Gracie's Mixed Martial Arts:

“Thank you so much for giving up your time to teach us self defense. It was an excellent class. All of the instructors were great to work with…you guys are AWESOME”~Kim

“Thanks Guys! It was a great time and I now know some great life saving skills (hopefully I’ll never need). I cannot thank you enough!”~Krystal

“Thank you so much for taking your time to teach us such important tactics. I had a lot of fun being a part of this class. You guys are excellent teachers!”~Fabiola

“I used to fight when I was younger. It was a pleasure and an honor to learn from the best!  Thank you for teaching me new skills and how to defend myself.  It’s given me more confidence.”~Jessica 

Tina, a nurse who typically walks to her car alone at night, has been taking classes with Carlson Gracie at their Merrillville, IN location for four months. She not only takes Muay Thai and Boxing, but also takes Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes, which I had the fortunate opportunity of observing. As I ignorantly walked in with my gym shoes on ready to throw a few punches on a boxing bag, Tina enlightened me by explaining that although boxing and Muay Thai is extremely beneficial for understanding how and where to hit or kick specific points on the body, Jiu-Jitsu is not about strength and therefore vital for women to have knowledge of as well if being attacked.  

Most think Jiu-Jitsu is a male competitive sport, but in Tina’s case, she “does not have to weigh 230 lbs. take down a 230lb. man,” which she most definitely proved with Enrique, an instructor of Jiu-Jitsu at Carlson Gracie, who focuses on the self defense aspect of this art form. Self-defense is centered on control and position and Nick, another staff member and MMA fighter, illustrated this through an exceptionally valuable and straightforward technique.  As I initially (and most awkwardly) held my arms over his chest from behind, he placed his right foot over mine, stomped and turned with an elbow to the abdomen, completing the method by rotating to apply a knee in the groin.  As we switched positions and practiced the technique I will openly admit that I felt nothing short of a bad ass for those 30 seconds of my life.

Article written by Bessie Nicole Kostidis with Veni Vidi Vintage Inc.  

Editor's Note:

This piece really got me thinking about what kind of attire is appropriate to wear for a course like this.  Here are some quick tips that will get you started on your work out apparel wardrobe.
"Statistics" tee by Taryn Zhang on organic cotton tee.  

1.  Comfortable clothes you can move around in.  If the weather is cold out, dress in layers and as your warm up you can simply remove a layer at a time.

2.  Because of the close contact with other partners during training, it is best not to wear perfume to class as not to irritate other's senses.

3.   Remove all jewelry prior to class.  These items can get hung up during training and someone could get hurt.

4.  Wear sneakers or be prepared to go barefoot in certain gyms (pre-class pedicure would be nice-lol).

Don't forget our online boutique has an array of comfortable t-shirts that would be absolutely appropriate for class.  All our artwork has been donated by artists who support empowering women, so not only is our inventory wearable, but helps spread our message...and what better venue to do so! 

"Punk Girls Have Heart" by Lena Ker t-shirt    

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