Our new black belt taught most of the class last night - self defense moves. I liked a lot of what he showed us. He tends to the quick, easy, and vicious. Though I do keep looking for moves that would have been useful in the only self-defense situations I've ever been in, which would need to be considerably less damaging.
That's something I've wanted to address in self-defense classes for a while, but I haven't sorted out how to go about it yet. Most self-defense is geared toward the guy who's trying to kill you (and has a good chance of succeeding. Yet relatively few women end up in that sort of life-or-death situation. The only woman I've taught self-defense to who has used anything I taught, used it on her husband to get out of a humiliating, but not at all deadly situation. Fortunately, our class had included a non-lethal response to the particular pin he had her in.
In my case, the only time someone ever tried to kill me, he was 80+ years old, and utterly incapable of doing me serious harm. Really. I stood there and let him choke me until he got tired, and sustained no physical injury. But I didn't want to stand there and let him choke me - I simply knew no way to break a choke hold that wouldn't have also broken him (I had my back to a wall, so I couldn't have backed out.). I was seriously shaken simply by having someone assault me that way, and not having any good way to fight back and make him stop.
I'm still sorting this out in my head, but it seems to boil down to self-defense being largely geared to a maiming response to a possibly lethal stranger, when far more women end up being groped or pinned or otherwise manhandled by people they know, who aren't a lethal danger, and who they do not want to maim. I am learning some of the responses geared more towards controlling the attacker as time goes on, but mostly not from the self-defense classes.
In other news, our one remaining brown belt, L, has been working with sensei privately (he moved over an hour away about a year ago). Sensei announced last week that L will be testing for his black belt August 25th. This will be Sensei's first black belt promotion (yay!), and also means that I won't be his first black belt when I test in another couple of years (double-yay!). L wants to open up his own dojo in his new home town. I wish him all the best on his test, and hope his new dojo is a winner.