Before I met with Arete, I was very nervous. Not so much yesterday, but the weeks leading up to it. There are a lot of reasons why, but mostly it was that I had no frame of reference for what we were going to do and even though I know him, I don’t know him. We are still getting to know each other and since I have done nothing like this, I was uneasy.
I was fairly certain he wasn’t going to just walk up and punch me, but I had tried to make it clear that I was not looking for some girly class where he taught me how to blow a whistle and knee someone in the groin. Perhaps effective. Perhaps a useful tool and skill, but I am looking for something different.
I was as worried about being coddled and I was about being hurt.
When I got to the park he showed me some knives. Just to show me and we chit chatted a bit. Then we walked over to an area less populated. The place was packed. Yesterday was mostly him showing me some basic moves, talking to me and I think him getting an idea of where I am at, which is about zero.
He talked to me about stance and much like shooting it focuses on balance and not being easily pushed back or pulled forward. He showed me what happens if I stand with my legs crossed which is how I always stand.
One of the first things he said was punch me.
I said, “punch you?”
“Yeah, punch me.” I stood there. He said “do you know how to punch?” I really didn’t. I have taken some “Fight Like A Girl” classes, but they were focused on fitness not fighting. I can punch a bag ok, but I wasn’t sure I knew how to punch a person. That was his first glimpse at my level…not very high. So we did a little punching on a pad. Fine. Then he showed me some other things and we chatted some more. He asks a lot of questions…if I do this then what happens? What’s the first thing that happens in a fight? Have you ever eaten a sandwich? I didn’t know many of the answers. Most of our conversations went like this.
A- If I grab your arm like this what happens?
Me- Blank stare. I don’t know.
A- Yes, you do.
Me. Umm, uh, I fall.
A-Yeah. Uncross your legs. You don’t have good balance with your legs crossed. Ok, hit me.
Me- Hit you?
I just stand there. He has no pads of any kind. He wants me to hit him in the chest.
A- Hit me
Me- I throw a punch…hit
A- That’s not a hit. Your going to have to hit me. You can’t hurt me. Hit me. Uncross your legs.
Me- hit, hit
A- Next time if you don’t hit me, I am going to hit you.
Me- HIT, HIT
A- Uncross your legs.
Yeah, I don’t think coddling is going to be a problem.
Now, I use caps to show that I hit harder the last time, but it was by no means a hard punch, however, apparently it was hard enough to keep me from getting hit.
It was extremely difficult on my mind to hit him. I have never hit anyone in my life. I don’t even spank my kids. I know I can’t hurt him. That isn’t the issue. It is the mental block of hitting. This is why I need to train. I literally forced myself not to freeze. It was a conscious effort and it was a tough one.
When I first went to the shooting course with John and he would say shoot, many times I just stood there. Fortunately, John didn’t say if you don’t shoot next time, I am going to shoot you, but sometimes he would yell. My husband said that weekend one could visible see me fighting my mind. I struggled to get over my fear of shooting my gun. John has a very good ability to know when to push and when not to. There were times he would yell shoot and there were times he would get close in and talk me through it and there were times he and the whole class would stand back and let me work through it. It is no exaggeration to say I would stand there with my gun pointed at the target for several minutes and not shoot. Then take a shot and stand there again for 30 seconds or more.
My mind is all kinds of, I want say weak, but it’s not weak, it is, what is it..maybe, conditioned badly.
The difference between yesterday and my first Conceal Carry class was back then I was on the edge of quitting and crying the whole time. Yesterday, I was not. I never felt like crying and I never felt like quitting.
Arete explains everything he is doing and why. He explains what vein is in that part of the leg, arm, hand. He knows how many layers of skin or muscle lay on top of it. He explains exactly what happens when said vein is punched, kicked, sliced.
We did a little walk through of my day in the parking lot. He was the bad guy. It was basic and it never got to the I am on the ground stage. He asked me for my money and ironically, I wanted to say no, but the point was not what I would do now, but what I didn’t do then. We had been doing a lot of grabbing of the wrist and how to get out of that and I wanted to know how I could have gotten out of it when the bad guy grabbed my wrist.
There are so many layers to that attack and so many ways I could have done things differently to have stopped it, from running back into the store(my car was far from the door, more isolated, but I saw him coming and I knew he was bad), to yelling(no one was there, but still), to saying NO, etc. I know all that, but I want to deal with each part as it happened and know how to get out of that stage. My goal would be to avoid it all together, but if someone gets their hand on my wrist again, I want to know how to get out. If someone gets me to the ground, I want to have some idea of how to survive. A more effective way than just squirming around.
I guess we were there a little over an hour and when we were done he gave me homework. He told me the world is full of minors. Meaning items in everyday life that show reflections. Things I can use to see behind me like a car window or shadows. He talked about situational awareness and that when I go to, say the range I need to count the people in a room and find the exits. I am suppose to be doing some knee striking exercise with a pillow.
Even though he threatened me with violence to get me to do what he wanted, he is very nice. He asked me several times if I was ok, if I needed a break. One time he made me take a break and drink water. He has a crawl, walk, run philosophy We are currently at the crawl stage. I am not sure how quickly we move from crawl to run, but I am in no hurry. There was a lot of information packed in that 65-70 minutes. A lot. Even though I am still a little nervous I can’t wait to do it again.