As a martial arts instructor, I evaluate potential students by asking myself: Will this child be able to learn successfully in my class, without hampering the learning of my other students?
Very young children should not be in a standard martial arts class with all ranks and all ages. We all believe our children to be prodigies…far more coordinated, talented and brilliant than other kids. It’s very important, however, that your child is old enough/sufficiently mature to communicate effectively (I need to go to the bathroom/my foot hurts/I don’t understand) and participate fully (listen, understand, and follow instructions) so he or she has a safe, positive experience.Continue reading →
Finding the right martial arts school doesn’t have to be hard, if you ask the right questions.
A lot goes into choosing the right martial arts school, so start by asking the right questions. Those questions differ somewhat by age. Younger students do not have their own funds or transportation, and must depend on parents or guardians for guidance. This post will deal with choosing the best martial arts school for adult students, with a follow-up post for finding the right studio for kids, or helping young students participate in selecting a good martial arts school for themselves.
How far are you willing to travel to take a martial arts class? Be honest and practical; if you’re time-crunched and will be hurrying across town after work to train, that may not be a viable long-term solution. Convenience is a plus, and certainly increases your ability to participate in special events, arrive early, or stay late if need be.
How much can you afford to spend on a class? Note that “more expensive” doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be receiving more value. Continue reading →
Stalking is never okay. No matter what the situation, you cannot control the behavior of another person, nor are you responsible for it.
My friend Susan* has a stalker. They met through a mutual acquaintance, he asked her out, and she said no. That should have been the end of the story. Instead, after she politely declined his dinner invitation, he continued to call and text her. He acted overly familiar, prying into Susan’s personal life, demanding details and giving the indication that he had been watching her. She quickly asked him to stop contacting her altogether.
Instead, he began calling at all hours, texting repeatedly and driving by her house. As he became increasingly aggressive in his pursuit, Susan grew worried for her safety and that of her young son. She varied her routine, taking different routes to work and coming and going at different times, but still he lurked in parking lots and on nearby streets. Susan blocked his phone number to eliminate his calls and text messages, but then felt as though she were missing a valuable indicator of his mental state. Continue reading →
What’s worth fighting for? Each person’s answer may be different, but that decision should be made before a confrontation ever occurs.
Know yourself and what you’re willing to fight for. This can’t be a game-time decision…it must involve some soul-searching and personal inventory well before you’re faced with an attacker, an intruder, a mugger or any potentially life-threatening situation.
If you’re suddenly accosted by someone who is trying to take your wallet or purse, you need to know whether to toss it away (YES, in almost every case), or potentially risk your life and personal safety by trying to keep it. If someone you don’t know knocks at your door, will you open it? What determines your answer? And if an intruder tries to force his way into your car or home, how will you react?
My friend was talking about a man who had stalked, restrained and physically attacked a woman we knew when she said, “But he’s basically a good guy.” Shocked, I clarified: “No, he’s a nice guy. Definitely not a good guy.”
A nice guy, or a good guy?
We both knew this person. He had been a guest in both of our homes. He was attractive, charming, likable and a great conversationalist, making him very pleasant company. However, beneath the surface, his niceness paled in comparison to his aggression, threatening behavior and willingness to put others at risk.
Yes, we all have bad days. We all have triggers that can cause us to behave unlike our better selves. But someone who deliberately intimidates, terrorizes or attacks another person? That’s not a good person.
When someone shows you who he is, believe him the first time. Don’t wait for him to show you again. If we’d all actually believe our eyes and ears and listen to our gut feelings, we’d avoid a lot of pain and heartache. From business relationships to dating, and from online communications to in-person meetings, you can believe what people tell you…if you know how to listen.
I met someone recently I liked and felt comfortable with almost instantly. This is rare for me, and was almost a “red flag” in and of itself. However, when I considered what I knew about this person, that added context increased my comfort level, as did his willingness to answer questions directly and share relevant historical, professional and personal information. We discussed appropriate topics, he respected my personal space, and allowed me to set the pace of our meeting.
What’s the context? How long have you known this person? How did you meet? Do you have shared business associates or friends, or did you simply meet by chance or through a shared activity or common location? Continue reading →
More people have asked me about parking garage safety than any other topic. For several reasons, these structures especially strike fear into the hearts of women. Parking garages are actually a convenience, as well as a land-conservation device, intended to protect users and their cars from the elements and avoid having to walk across acres of open parking lots.
So why are parking garages scary? Primarily because of our imaginations and what we’ve seen on TV and at the movies. Here are the top reasons given to me over the past 15 years:
They’re dark. True, most parking structures aren’t lit up like the midway of a state fair, but that isn’t inherently dangerous. Combat the darkness and give yourself a landmark by parking under or near a light, and carry a small flashlight in your pocket, purse, or on a keychain in case of power failure.
You can’t see people coming. I interpret this to mean both people on foot and in vehicles. Due to the nature of parking garage design, there are blind curves, lots of vehicles, intermittent activity and traffic, and people not paying attention.