Self-defense courses offer a unique opportunity for women to gain confidence, techniques, and experience in fighting off attackers. Though no solution to rape or violence, these courses certainly can ease the minds of modern women.
Golden Naga Martial Arts Center at 857 SW Western Boulevard in Corvallis offers weekend group trainings specifically available to women. These trainings run three hours on Saturday and three hours on Sunday. No men are permitted on the premises during scheduled training times, until the final portion of the training: “padded attacker.” At this time, a man in full pads makes himself available for the women to attack.
Such courses are particularly valuable for women recovering from rape and sexual assault, as pioneer psychologists point out from Babette Rothschild to Peter Levine. Both advocate retraining the body after trauma to reconnect with one’s capacity to employ a variety of strategies and resources in self-defense.
Head instructor Geoff Watham of Golden Naga stated that the goal of the women’s defense trainings is to empower.
“That’s a key word,” Watham said. “The purpose is really to provide tools and to provide confidence.”
Golden Naga also offers training to young girls, beginning at ages six and seven. At these ages, Watham said, the girls can learn not just physical, but verbal self-defense, “in terms of setting boundaries and de-escalating a situation.” In general, Watham compared self-defense to building a wall. “Self-confidence is what you’re building it on,” he said. “If your self-confidence is good, you have a good foundation.”
Other local instructor Michael Downing of Oregon Pound offers jiu-jitsu classes for women from noon to 1 p.m., Mondays and Thursdays in Philomath. Downing also offers family classes on Tuesdays and Fridays to children as young as six accompanied by a parent. Jiu-jitsu, Downing suggested, is perfect for women, as “grappling is [their] focus and that is typically how fights end up.”
Check out Oregon Pound’s women’s self-defense classes at www.oregonpound.com/wbjj/, continuing noon through 1 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays at the Philomath Training Center, 24495 Bridge Court, Philomath; or call Mike Downing for more information at 541-929-5503.
Contact Golden Naga at www.goldennaga.com/site/
By Ariadne Wolf