Now is the Time to Learn to Defend Ourselves. We Are at a Crossroads and What We Do Next Matters.

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Katherine White
One with Heart Program Coordinator

We live in volatile times and we all feel it. Many of us are wondering what to do to feel less vulnerable, to feel more capable of standing up for ourselves and for each other in a climate where hurtful, oppressive language and behavior is becoming normalized. In December, a reporter from Willamette Week decided she would learn to fight. She took a self -defense class at One with Heart and she recommends others do the same.[i]

Sexism, racism, and homophobia are not new in this country. For 30 years One with Heart has taught self-defense to populations who are targeted and who experience violence in both subtle and overt ways. What has changed is not that we are targeted, but that the violence has become less subtle and more overt. Not since the late 1960’s has there been such division, such anger, such violence boiling on the surface as we are experiencing today.

We may have thought, during the past 50 years, that the activism of the civil rights movement and the women’s movement changed us, as a nation, so fundamentally that we could ride on those accomplishments and sail smoothly toward equality. It was never that simple and, if we didn’t see that before, our eyes are open now.

There has been an unspoken social agreement that name calling, butt grabbing and other forms of public humiliation are not acceptable. This behavior, as well as full scale physical violence, has been going on behind closed doors. Now people are emboldened to hurt and humiliate others publicly. We hear from women who are being pinched and groped openly at work. We hear that racist bullying has increased dramatically in our schools. We watched a presidential candidate publicly mock a disabled reporter. The door has been opened.

The risk to opening the door, to bringing the violence into focus, is that it becomes normalized. This feels like one of those rare, defining moments in history when we stand at a clear crossroads. Will the violence we see move us to stand up for ourselves and each other, or will it become the new normal? This is the moment when what we do individually and collectively will answer that question.

Sophia June, the reporter from Willamette Week, says the time to take a self-defense class is now – and we agree. You will learn simple, effective striking techniques that will increase your sense of safety and confidence, but you will learn much more. Self-defense training is a process of raising awareness, developing the mindset, the voice, the body language, and the calm focus to fight for the best possible outcome in a volatile situation. We are here to support everyone in feeling empowered to stand up for ourselves, for each other, for justice.

One with Heart’s Intro to Pukulan program offers three weeks of self-defense training to women and men. There is a program starting soon. Enroll today.

 

ENDNOTES

[i] June, Sophia. “How I Learned to Fight and Why All Women Should Take a Self-Defense Class.” Willamette Week. January 3, 2017.

Willamette Week Article