For quite awhile, I knew I wanted my girls to take some sort of self-defense class. Last fall, I called a couple martial arts studios, but they only had regular, longer-term martial arts classes. I wanted something quick — just several sessions covering the basic skills. Then this past winter, when I learned that the county parks and rec program hosted a women’s self-defense class — three evening sessions (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, done) for free — I signed them right up.

The girls loved it. After each class, they’d push back the furniture and demonstrate how to knock a gun out of someone’s hand, or where certain pressure points are located (sending their father crumpling to the floor, much to their delight). The last class, they got to practice all their moves on a cop (who was fully swaddled in protective gear). I saw the videos of them lighting into him, screaming DON’T TOUCH ME. It was slightly unsettling — we are from a peace church tradition, after all — but it also felt deeply right. Girls need to know their power and strength, and that there are times when it’s absolutely okay not to be polite.

Ever since then, they’ve been begging for more classes, so I dug around some more and learned about a six-week kickboxing class at a studio on our end of town. For 120 dollars, a person can take up to five classes a week, and they get a pair of gloves thrown in, too. I agreed to pay fifty dollars for each, and the rest was up to them to cover.

The first class was a trial one, just to see if they liked it. My older son went, too, even though his schedule doesn’t allow him to sign up right now. They all loved everything about it — the intense workout, the coaching, the music.

After her second class, my older daughter came bounding in, her eyes sparkling. “My feet are bleeding!” she announced. “And I felt like I was going to throw up!”

Sure enough, blood was soaking through her socks, and her hands were all battered.

Since then, she’s taken to wrapping her feet prior to lessons (and bandaiding her hands).

So, no more bloody socks.

To wring as much value as possible from their investment, both girls are trying to catch as many classes as they can. They come home exhausted, sore from their push-ups, two-minute planks, squats, and punching bag and paddle work, and absolutely glowing.

Who knew getting your butt whupped would be so much fun?

This same time, years previous: the quotidian (4.2.18), caribbean milk cake, the quotidian (4.3.17), the quotidian (4.4.16)red raspberry pie, sun days, working lunches, warning: this will make your eyes hurt, cup cheese.


  • Ernie

    This is a great idea. I workout at a health club that has kickboxing classes. I avoid them like the plague because I am afraid I will look super silly. I have two daughters 15 and 11. I might borrow your very good idea!

  • Margo

    I love everything about this!! And feel inspired to seek out classes like this for my girls. Actually, my son, too. Maybe me, too!!

  • Lana

    Our youngest daughter took self defense from a friend who taught her everything she needed to know and I am glad since that little petite daughter of ours is now a trucker. Yup, she hated working as an accountant and went to truck driving school.

  • Lissa

    Having raised two bada** women I loved reading this!! There's nothing like the power and confidence from having these lessons!

  • sassygirl

    you are one savvy mama. i understand that your beliefs are on the opposite wavelength but it’s a big world out there. we meet people unexpectedly that we need to handle differently if threatened. a handshake won’t work. my parents enrolled me in a self defense course when i was 16. it was awesome…and taught by a retired FBI.

  • Goatldi

    Beyond awesome. I keep trying to imagine *that* happening in 1965 – HAH!

    I do have four lovely granddaughters though that could benefit from it in 2019. Excuse me while I cruise the internet listings.

  • farm buddy

    This is great! I wish all young women got to learn this! Even here in Upstate NY, I often see very young women running by themselves on back roads, and I am always concerned for them. This is a great thing you are doing for your daughters!! I hope it encourages many more to participate.

  • Anonymous

    That is so very cool. And yes! Moving your body to its full capacity can be a ton of fun even if it results in a little blood. (but: good to reduce the bleeding.)

    And there were, on reflection, an unnervingly-large number of times in late high school and college when it would have been really, really helpful to have practice and internal-permission to scream "don't touch me!" and I am so glad they are going to be equipped, and also hope they don't ever need it!

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