Burghers of Calais

When I used to live in Washington, D.C. a lifetime ago, I stood in an outdoor sculpture garden and stared at a work by Rodin, the Burghers of Calais.  The work represents the way people might approach death – fear, resolve, etc.  I realized on Friday night that I got a taste of that when I worked at Teacher’s women’s Self Defense course.

The class lasted three hours and moved from lecture to practice about every half hour.  I was fairly interested with how it was going to be laid out because of Bob Patterson’s comments at Striking Thoughts (him doing a self-defense based course). 

Since this was a single class no effort was taken to train from the base up.   We were literally teaching the most minimal moves to excise one from a situation and then get running.  Based on how hard some of these ladies were hitting and kicking they would definitely make an impact on anyone stupid enough to hassle them.

As the women and young ladies cycled through the various stations we had set up I got to see their faces in various states of concentration.  Plainly some of them were using memories to get charged up to strike the various pads.  That’s were I saw the Burghers of Calais.  To some of the members issues were being worked out in front of me.  I felt like a peeping tom.  Being the quiet guy in the back afforded me some anonymity and by that very association I got to take some hard shots. 

One of the easiest shots taught was the kick to the groin.  I held a very heavy pad between my legs and they got to go to town.  There was a few people actually lifted me off my feet.  I’m pretty sure I pulled a muscle in my leg. 

I was trying to emphasize that they needed to, at the very least, look at what they were striking at.  So during one set of combinations (groin strike, elbow strike) a young lady missed the pad I was holding low and smashed a poorly formed ridge hand into my genitals.  Luckily I was wearing a cup, but that didn’t stop the standard man-cringe and wince of pain on my face.  Thankfully she didn’t follow that up with a elbow in the face. 

Every time she cycled through the line on a new technique her face would flame scarlet before she would start. 

A very interesting evening.  Afterwards I wondered out loud to Teacher about using the class as an advertisement for our classes.  He admitted that he wanted to do that a bit and actually had a few people ask him about it.  I was thinking more of a flashy demo where he threw me around or had Little Sister take me down.  He didn’t think it was appropriate and I guess I should be appreciative because I was able to wake up with only the most minimal muscle pains.

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