Many years ago my daughter Sheryl and I took an incredible course called Model Mugging. It was a self-defense course developed by a woman who had been brutally attacked and could not defend herself, even though she had a black belt in Karate. She had never learned how to fight on the ground, so when she was knocked to the ground, she was defenseless.
Sheryl was 12 at the time and a little bitty thing, yet during this course she inadvertently almost knocked out a big man! Here is how it happened.
In this course, a man dresses up in a hugely padded suit with a full head/face helmet - he is the "mugger". He dresses like this so the people in the class can learn to fight full force. We learned many techniques for disabling an attacker both standing up and on the ground, and our bodies learned to fight full force through repetition in fighting with the mugger.
On this particular evening, the "mugger" was wearing his padded suit, but not his helmet, as he was demonstrating with each of us a move where we would knee him in the crotch and then when his head came down, we would grab his head and slam it into our knee. We were supposed to just do the move with no force to get the feel of it. When he came to Sheryl, because she was so small, he bent down too far and her knee hit him in the head. He stumbled back and later said that he actually saw stars! We were all shocked that this tiny child, without even using much force, could almost knock out this big man! It gave us lots of confidence that we actually did have the strength to defend ourselves - strength that none of us knew we had before the course.
Throughout the course, we were encouraged not only to fight full force, but to yell "No!" full force! For some women who had been badly abused, either as children, or in their adult relationships, or by an attacker, this alone was a very healing and powerful thing to do. In fact, the whole class was incredibly healing for women who had suffered abuse or violence.
At some point the founders of Model Mugging went their separate ways and one of them started another training called Impact Training. These two trainings teach basically the same things, so if you want to take the training, whichever one is in your area is fine.
I often suggest this training to both men and women who feel afraid of getting physically hurt by someone. It's been 27 years since I took it, but my body still knows how to fight full force; knowing this has created a powerful sense of safety. I'm thankful that I've never had to use the training, but I'm so glad that I know it.
If you were physically hurt as a child and feel very afraid of physical violence, I encourage you to take this course. You will feel so empowered by it! Some people move on to advanced courses where you learn to fight off more than one attacker, and then an even more advanced course where you learn how to deal with guns and knives.
This course is the very best self-defense course I've heard about. I've received extremely positive feedback from many friends and clients who have taken it.