The Art of Winning Blog

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Little Girls Aren't Prey

by Mary Aitoshi

With the recent media coverage around Jessica Ridgeway's disappearance and the recovery of her body, I found myself dismayed by the tragedy. As a teacher of self defense and empowerment, I know that the chances of survival are greatly increased by three things:
1. Education: Knowing the tricks that perpetrators employ to entice good people
2. Community: Connecting with your neighbors and knowing what's normal for your neighborhood
3. Fighting Back: The statistics are staggering on the improvement of survival if you just resist

But as I thought about it and talked about it with friends, I realized there is an insidious poison that encourages these perpetrators: our language. As I listened to the news and to my friends, I heard the terms "predator" and "prey" being used to describe the situation. These terms are so intrinsic to the conversation that it took me awhile to notice them. Once I did, I was horrified. A predator is a majestic animal who hunts to survive, whether for food or pack position. A prey is poor helpless animal who can only flee and hope someone else in the herd gets picked off. I can't help but wonder why we would glorify the perpetrator while diminishing the potential for survival by using these terms. I'd like to propose that the person who abducted and murdered Jessica Ridgeway is twisted scavenger, an outcast who at best deserves pity and condemnation. Furthermore, Jessica Ridgeway is a heroine, a beautiful little girl who likely tried to help that twisted scavenger. We should exalt her for what must have been a terrifying ordeal and hold her memory like a shining beacon. She should be an inspiration for us to do more.

As a martial arts teacher, I can help people learn the skills to fight back; I can teach you the common tricks perpetrators use and how to avoid them. More than that, I can teach you the skills that allow you to trust your neighbors and become aware of your surroundings. There's also an amazing amount of resources in the local and national community. If you haven't read it, I recommend Gavin De Becker's The Gift of Fear as a great starting point.

Upcoming Events
These events are relevant to developing the skills of safety and awareness. They are open to people not currently training in To-Shin Do.

Eyes of the Tracker
Learn how to notice the macro and micro details of your world. When studying self defense and establishing community, it's important to build a template of norms so that you can tune into changes and warning signs.
Instructor: Ian Sanderson

How to Talk to Your Kids (about Violence and Safety)
Since humans were living in caves and sharing stories around the campfires, lessons of safety have formed an important backbone of connection. So much so that our brains are wired to receive this information strongly. In this talk, we'll teach you how to bring up the topics in a way that creates safety instead of fear. We'll also share what's true and known about violence today and how to deal with the trauma that's processed when tragedies occur in our communities.
Instructors: Mary Aitoshi and Kevin Keitoshi

Grid Search Methods
Continue your understand of the connections between vision and mind to increase awareness and build a disciplined focus.
Instructor: Kevin Keitoshi

Women's Self Defense
Decrease your fear. Increase your power. Unleash your potential.
Instructor Mary Aitoshi

1 comment:

JoAnna P. said...

This is such a powerful post, Aitoshi. Language is something we can so easily take for granted--oftentimes without even being conscious of it--which then gives the insidiousness of negative meanings the permission to permeate our culture and our hearts. If we're constantly being bombarded with the predator/victim/prey language, we are not being encouraged to remember that we all have a very powerful capability within us that is capable of protecting the ones we love and ourselves.

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