Before last week, I had never taken any sort of self-defence training in my life. In the back of my head I know that I should be prepared for sticky situations, especially since I live off campus and sometimes commute late at night. But since I’ve never encountered any real trouble before, I haven’t given much thought to what I would actually do should a dangerous situation arise. I hear about the incidents on the radio or the news, but my mindset has still sort of been like “oh nothing’s going to happen to me… ” Talk about unprepared.
But a while ago I found out that one of the dons at my college was organizing a FREE Wen-Do session. I had first heard about it at the She’s Got Game event back in September, and have been waiting for an opportunity to try it, so I immediately signed up.
So, what exactly is this Wen-do thing?
It’s all about basic self-defence taught by women, for women in an inclusive and comfortable atmosphere. The focus isn’t only on the physical aspect though – they share strategies for verbal self-defence, like confronting and reasoning as well. Oh, and I learned how important it is to use the element of surprise!
I attended the Wen-do session at my college last week with about three dozen other girls, and even though there were a bunch of other events on that same night, I’m really glad I went to this. What I like best about Wen-do is that the moves are easy to learn, easy to remember, and most important of all, down-right practical. It didn’t matter if whether or not we completely mastered every move. Wen-do is all about teaching you what you need to know to take control of a sticky situation, and buy enough time for yourself to get away safely.
We blocked, we kicked, we yelled (no girlie shrieks – I’m talking full on, GET OUTTA MY FACE hollering!). I don’t know if it was the dynamic instructor, or just the positive energy in the room, but I found those three hours to be really empowering. I went into it not really knowing what to expect, but within the first hour I was assured that Wen-do wasn’t about accepting that women are weak or powerless. Quite the opposite, really – it was about realizing that we don’t need to rely on ridiculous safety gadgets or someone else to save us. We are capable of looking out for ourselves, and we are strong enough to stand up and defend ourselves when we need to.
I left the session that night feeling much more confident in myself. I feel better now that should something dangerous ever happen, I have some strategies to fall back on. In fact, I think if you talked to any of the other girls who participated, they too would be feeling less powerless and a lot more like…
This absolutely FREE 3-hour session was possible thanks to the Community Safety Office at U of T. So if you wanna give Wen-do a try, all you gotta do is get at a group of at least 10 girls, and get in touch with the office. They’d be more than happy to help you out with all the logistics from there!