Jackie Chan Can’t Hold a Candle to This…

You may or may not remember—and I don’t expect you would, but just in case—that I’m very well-versed in the art of self-defense.

self defenseImage from here.

Any time I’m walking alone through a dark, deserted parking lot, I keep my keys wedged between my fingers like Wolverine’s claws, so that I’ll have a weapon ready on the off-chance that someone will try to abduct me.  I once nearly killed a man with those selfsame keys when I heard his fast footsteps coming up behind me in the dark.  Turns out he was just running because it was cold and he wanted to get to his car fast, but still.  I did nearly kill him.  You can read about it right here.

How, you ask, did I come to be so aware of my surroundings, knowing what to listen and watch for at every time of day or night with my cat-like reflexes and eagle eyes?  How am I so astute?  So keen?

Simple: I’ve taken self-defense classes.

selfDefenseTrainingNot like, judo or tai-kwondo, though that would be especially cool and I fully intend to enroll in such classes and be strong like this girl someday {image from here}…

…but just entry-level self-defense classes.  I’ve sat through four in the past few years, the first of which was offered during my senior year of high school when I went through a sort of “finishing school” program.  I had always been curious about techniques for defending oneself when necessary, mostly due to a perfect storm of paranoia embedded within me as the result of 1) growing up in a very big city which experienced the height of its gang-related violence in the ’90s, right when I was at my most impressionable age, and 2) a very dear aunt who used to force me and my sister to watch Unsolved Mysteries just so she could say, “Now, girls, you know there are crazy people like that IN THIS VERY CITY, right?  People who will take you when you’re out playing in the front yard?  Never, never, never talk to strangers.” And then, at the climax of the scariest unsolved mystery, she would take it upon herself—some sort of unwritten auntly duty, no doubt—to SCREAAAAAAAAAAAM! a blood-curdling shriek, the terrifying likes of which a real-life stab victim herself could not possibly replicate, and send my sister and I scattering—cowering, trembling—under the safety of a blanket or our parents, whichever was closest.

Every time, she screamed; and every time—every dadgummed time—we fell for it.  It was very unsettling.

So you see, I’m more than a little cautious of being raped.  Self-preservation is in my blood.

Which is why I sit through any and every defense class that comes along my way.

Most of the classes I’ve attended have been geared toward women, which is not anti-feminist; it’s nice.  I’m not too proud to know that my strength—my own flesh and blood—does not measure up to that of the average man’s, or even the slightly sub-average man’s.  I’m pretty weak, is all I’m saying.  My arm strength is laughable, and with my rheumatoid arthritis and self-diagnosed carpal tunnel, I’m an easy target for abductors.  I just know it.  So I try to be prepared.

I know all sorts of great ways to get out of a choke-hold, to dodge a frontal attack or one from the rear.  I know—or at least, I’ve been taught—that the first thing to do when I’m being attacked is to use a firm voice and say, “STOP.  NO.  DON’T COME ANY CLOSER.”  Because, really, what carjacker expects to be told that no, he may NOT steal my truck, but maybe he can check with the submissive girl parked next to me instead?  Not many, I reckon.

The classes have varied slightly from one instructor to another, but the one lesson that was always consistent, and the one I remembered most vividly, was this:

If, by chance, you have failed to claw out the perpetrator’s eyeballs with your keychain claws, and you missed your chance to kick him in the hoo-haws, and even your strong, strong voice could not keep him at bay, and at last YOU FIND YOURSELF KICKING AND SCREAMING IN HIS POWERFUL GRASP, the sure-fire way to gain an advantage is this:  COMPLETELY RELAX.

Not like, yoga-deep-breathing-find-your-happy-place relax, but completely relax your muscles.  Go limp—perfectly limp.  Become dead weight in the rapist’s arms, and even if you’re a little beeotch that only weighs 99 pounds (die, by the way), that will be 99 pounds of solid MASS that the rapist is not expecting.

The dead-weight sounded so brilliant to me—so logical—and even though I never had the burning desire to be abducted, I always wished I could try it out on someone who REALLY wasn’t expecting it, just to see if it worked like I hoped it would.

Yesterday, I had that chance.

It was late evening in our dining room here in Mayberry, after a long day of work for Poor Kyle and school for me.  We were both tired, almost too tired to eat—but not quite, and so I was compelled to put something together for dinner.  Salad, we decided, because somebody in this house has recently been diagnosed with the irresponsible condition of high cholesterol, and I’m not naming any names, but it’s Poor Kyle.  Bring on the Cheerios™.

Anyway, since I was forcing salad upon his sorry self, Poor Kyle asked me to try out a new recipe for a knockoff of Olive Garden’s salad dressing, and reasoned it was the least I could do since I was trying to kill him with THE GREEN!  ALL THAT GREEN!  But I was so tired, and plus, I said, it wouldn’t be worth my time, since we didn’t have any whole pepperoncinis, and without them it couldn’t possibly taste like a true Olive Garden salad.

But then—and stay with me, because here is where this blog-awful story gets good—Poor Kyle did that thing where he pretends to be a chauvinistic, domineering husband, saying that HE WEARS THE PANTS and if HE DEMANDED SALAD DRESSING, HE HAD BETTER GET SALAD DRESSING, WOMAN!  And of course he was joking, I could tell by the enormous grin on his face, and I wasn’t offended because I knew the only time he would ever directly address me as “woman” would be if he secretly had an agenda for divorce, like maybe he’s having an affair and wants to run away with some other broad but he wants me to be the one to divorce him so he won’t have to pay the alimony…that’s when he would call me “woman.”


Kyle and Camille Happily Married[We really are happily married, I promise…]

And that’s when he grabbed me, trying to force me into the kitchen (it really wasn’t as violent as it sounds, by the way, but of course you’ll never believe me), and remember what I said about my strength, and how I have none? Well, yeah, I was kicking and fighting and not gaining any advantage whatsoever, when suddenly it hit me (in a flash of girl-power brilliance like I had never to that day experienced): DEAD WEIGHT.

Finally, the trick I’d waited so many years to try, and it only took marriage to get me here!  So that’s what I did.

My friends, I can tell you with 100% assurance or your money back [heh—good thing you don’t pay me for this], that IT WILL WORK.

My dead weight—and trust me, there’s plenty of it—acted like an anvil in Poor Kyle’s arms.  Down we tumbled, almost in slow motion, with Poor Kyle grasping frantically at each surface we passed—wall—stool—table’s leg—floor—and the startled look in his eyes?  The look of sheer and utter surprise at his inability to stand on his own two feet?

It was priceless.

And then it was painful, because I was on the laminate floor with a wooden stool crashed into my skull, and my 200+ pound husband smashed on top of me with all of HIS dead weight.

But don’t worry, I’m fine, and so’s Poor Kyle, and once we overcame the shock of our fall, I found that I couldn’t stop grinning, so giddy was I with the knowledge that all those self-defense teachers had done me a solid.

Only, if ever I really AM attacked by a true abductor, I’ll have to be a lot quicker about getting up and booking it the heck out of there.  As it was, if Poor Kyle was a real boogeyman, he could have stood me right back up and carried on with his evil scheme.

He didn’t get his salad dressing.

About Camille

I'm Camille. I have a butt-chin. I live in Canada. I was born in Arizona. I like Diet Dr. Pepper. Hello. You can find me on Twitter @archiveslives, Facebook at facebook.com/archivesofourlives, instagram at ArchivesLives, and elsewhere.
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