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January 2011

Upcoming Classes

The classes are all filling up quickly but I still have room if anyone is interested in any of the upcoming classes. Remember, I'll likely be holding another Airsoft class in March and you must have attended both Girls Day Out and Between the Threat and the Bang to attend Airsoft. Gun Cleaning 101 is in a week, I still have a few spots available but need to hear from you ASAP if you want to attend. See Upcoming Classes below for more details.

SDA Class Preparation

I have both a women only and mixed SDA class coming up in February. I only hold the SDA class about every three to six months so if you're interested in taking the class with me and want to take it sooner than that, this is your chance. Please understand, SDA is NOT a beginner level class – both the OSBI and CLEET expect that students know how to safely operate and handle a gun if they're taking the class to get a license, and they expect the instructors to fail anyone who can not. I apprenticed with a retired Norman police lieutenant to learn how to teach SDA and this is what he taught me...I witnessed him flunking a few students for safety violations, and it didn't matter if it was an accident (it usually is). I am a Chief Range Safety Officer and train and certify my own Range Safety Officers to enforce safety protocol and follow my directions. With the Girls Day Out class, written specifically to prepare women for SDA, there's no excuse to not be prepared. And like my mentor, I will flunk (and remove from class) anyone who violates safety protocol.

UpLULAs for Small Calibers now available!

Those of you who have attended Girls Day Out know about the UpLULA, which is better than new shoes! Unfortunately they do not work with .380 and below...until now! Introducing the Baby UpLULA, it's so cute I'm tempted to buy one even though I really don't need it. See Resources and Gear below for more details.

Thunderbird Gun Range

My assistant, Dara, and I spent a half day shooting a few of our guns at Thunderbird Range recently. There were about a half dozen others there while we were there and we were impressed with how respectful they were of other shooters, including following proper safety protocol. Ken, the owner, who himself is a Chief Range Safety Officer, has the firing line set up according to NRA specifications with a "control booth" where he is able to sit while live fire is going on and watch all the shooters. This made our shooting experience very comfortable and enjoyable. Here are more pictures of the range and our day of shooting.
I recommend Thunderbird Range, it's a safe and pleasant place to practice. And don't forget, Ken is offering OPD students a 50% discount on yearly membership. More Info...

Financial Aid for Classes


There is assistance available for anyone who has difficulty paying for a class. I understand that there will be times a person just can't afford a class, or perhaps wants to attend more than one and having the funds is a hardship. I charge minimal fees for classes to cover my own costs (facility, equipment, gas, food) but I don't ever want anyone to not be able to attend a class because of money. So if you need help with that, please let me know.

Oklahoma Personal Defense (OPD) is a personal defense academy committed to the empowerment of women through their own personal defense education. OPD protects the dignity and comfort of women by providing a safe, secure environment in which they can learn without the stress of intimidation. Classes are developed by its founder and lead instructor, Tammy Pinkston, specifically with the needs of average women in mind.  Focusing on firearms training, OPD tactics and techniques are practical and doable for all women. Class helpers are women who have been students of OPD, learned the techniques, and expressed a desire to help other women learn. OPD was formed in response to the tremendous volume of women seeking their own personal defense training.



Q:
Dear Ms. Pinkston,

I want to sign up for the "all girls" conceal carry class and my husband told me I'll do just fine because I've shot my gun a few times before, but I feel pretty nervous about my gun---I don't always remember how to work it and my son-in-law, who is a policeman, is constantly getting onto me about watching the barrel---which makes me even more nervous because I really don't think I'm doing anything wrong. Do you think I'll be okay in the class?
 
Sincerely,
 
Beverly

A: Hi
Beverly,

I'm happy to announce you are quite normal! I hear this same thing over and over again, a husband or boyfriend has told his significant other that she'll do just fine in class and yet she's very nervous about it. The truth is HE's very comfortable handling HIS gun and so he assumes you will be as well. However, women are different than men, we don't adjust as quickly and easily to handling guns as men do. Therefore, what may come naturally to them, we need training to become comfortable with.

I don't know you, but if your son-in-law keeps telling you to watch the barrel, and especially if you don't think you're doing anything wrong, that indicates to me that you may not be aware you're pointing the gun at people. This is also very common because women tend to "talk" with their hands so I frequently see women point guns at others completely unaware.

If you're not comfortable with how to operate your gun, or sure you can handle it safely, you do need more preparation before taking the SDA class. OSBI (the issuer of the SDA license) and CLEET (the issuer of the class curriculum) both expect that students who are taking the SDA class already know how to operate a gun on their own safely. This makes sense if you think about it – how comfortable would you feel knowing someone was given a license who may accidentally shoot you because they don't understand how their gun operates and do something unsafe? How would you feel if that was YOU who accidentally shot someone? This is why I'm both very careful to screen SDA students through the registration form, and I will not hesitate to do what OSBI and CLEET expect me to do as an SDA instructor, which is fail anyone who violates safety protocol in a class. First and foremost I and my Range Safety Officer will enforce safety, and that means even if it's an accident anyone who points a gun at someone else will be immediately removed from the class.

Another common misconception students have is that I will help them operate their gun (rack the slide, show you how to load, etc.) during the shooting portion, or if a friend or spouse is with them that person can help them. This would be like cheating on a test and it is not permitted. Again, the issuing agencies assume people going through the class to get the license are already prepared to carry a gun. I and my Range Safety Officers are trained to watch for safety violations and call students on them. Students receive warnings but instructors and Range Safety Officers do not instruct during live fire.

So yes, you do need to be comfortable enough handling your gun by yourself both in operating its functions and knowing you understand and practice safe handling.

While the above may sound scary, there is absolutely no reason to feel intimidated. What you're experiencing is very common, and it's precisely why I developed Girls Day Out. This class teaches you safety protocol and basic handling and specifically prepares you for the SDA class. I really encourage all women to take Girls Day Out before they take the SDA class because it gives you what you need to pass the class, AND it will make your SDA class experience much more pleasant. It always frustrates me when I see women break down crying (very common) during the shooting portion of the SDA class because they're so nervous, and it creates an unpleasant experience for both students and instructor/Range Safety Officer when a student is iffy about following safety protocol. There's no reason at all to go through that when there's a class specifically designed to prepare you for the conceal carry class.

Likewise it is most rewarding when I see the victory gleam in the eyes of a student who came in nervous but passed with flying colors. That does not happen for women naturally, it happens because she was proactive about her own education – in other words, she didn't take someone else's word that she was ready, she made sure of it herself! You would never go get in a car and try to pass a driver's test with the intention of getting your license to drive without classes to prepare you...this should be no different.

I always hold a Girls Day Out class prior to the SDA class to give women a chance to prepare for SDA, and I have one scheduled on January 22nd. If you attend that class, you will be ready for the SDA class on February 5th and I know you'll enjoy it!

Tammy

Send me your questions.



Gun Cleaning 101
January 8th from 1 pm to 3 pm
Shawnee
$30.00


Learn how to properly clean your handgun. This class covers the supplies you need, how often you need to clean your gun, and the best way to clean it. Students will learn how to take down (field strip) their gun in class so that they can do it on their own at home. Register

Girls Day Out.
A Prep Class for Carrying a Gun
January 22nd from 10 am to 4 pm
Shawnee
$45.00, includes lunch

This class helps you prepare for the conceal carry class and to become more comfortable with carrying your gun after you've taken the class. The class teaches you how to safely handle a gun, how to choose the right gun for you, and how to carry it once you have your gun.

Our special speaker this time will be Renee Brewer, Executive Director for the Native Alliance Against Violence. Renee has a lot of experience helping Native American victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. She is a part time police officer with the Seminole Police Department, and an
adjunct instructor with the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. See her full bio here.

A lot of women come to Girls Day Out in groups because it's a whole lot of fun to do together! Register

Between the Threat and the Bang
January 29th from 10 am to 4 pm
Earl's BBQ, Moore
$45.00, includes lunch

This class identifies and teaches several steps that can and should occur between the time a woman feels threatened and the time she may need to draw a gun in self-defense. Students practice situational awareness, posturing and commanding, and ultimately drawing from a holster.

Training guns and holsters will be provided for drawing from concealment drills. Register

Double Class Discount – Anyone who wants to attend both Girls Day Out and Between the Threat and the Bang choose Double Class Discount on the Registration page for $10 off.

Refresher Class: If you've already BTB or GDO, you may take the class again to hone up on your skills for $25.00. Choose Refresher on the registration page.

Oklahoma SDA (conceal carry)

This is the class to get the required certificate to apply for your Oklahoma conceal carry license. This is NOT a beginner level class, you MUST be able to handle your gun unassisted, and demonstrate 100% safety, in order to pass the class. If you are unsure of your ability to do so, I highly recommend you attend Girls Day Out as this class specifically helps prepare you for the SDA class.

There is both a women only and mixed (men and women) SDA class scheduled in February. Pre-registration is required prior to the deadline in order to be admitted to the class. Class limit for each class is 22.


Women Only
February 5th from 9 am to 6 pm
Shawnee
$60.00

Registration Deadline January 21st
Register
Mixed
February 19th from 9 am to 6 pm
Shawnee
$60.00
Registration Deadline February 4th
Register

Gift Certificates Available

Looking for a unique gift for the women in your life? Give her the gift of personal defense training. More info...



(From evaluations after class...)

Girls Day Out and Between the Threat and the Bang

What did you like the most?

~
The fact that the info was directly aimed at women – their strength and size, etc.
~
I really enjoyed this class.  It was insightful and funny.  I feel more relaxed about being a woman with a gun.
~
I liked the all girls atmosphere. We were all very comfortable with one another.
~
Excellent teaching skills as well as humorous which holds attention.  Great class!
~
Knowledgeable, entertaining, easy to ask questions, encouraging.
~
I appreciate a class taught by a woman for women, and found the material relevant and beneficial.
~
The instructor was personable and entertaining.  She emphasized the importance of safety and instructed us in the basics.
~
I felt free to discuss anything and everything.
~
Fun and informative.
~
It was very personable, plus the fact it was all women.  It was open and comfortable and taught what impacts women.  It makes me want to come back and learn more!
~
What I really liked about the class was it was for women.  It helped with holding the gun and covered technique and stance.
~
Real life situations; wonderful humor in context of info to lighten topics as presented.
~
I was very comfortable in class.  Very helpful information.  Instructor is very knowledgeable and very funny.
~
The instructor understands the student’s needs and put everyone at ease.
~

All information was very useful and informative for personal safety.

~
I liked that this was just for women.
~
Everything!



The below is from a recent Email post from my teacher and friend, John Farnam, of Defense Training International. I asked John if I could post it in my newsletter because the below process is specifically what I teach students in Between the Threat and the Bang, played out in a real life situation. Those of you who have taken the class will recognize the steps the man takes when he faces a potential threat. In BTB, I teach students to watch for things that are out of place (potential threats), take action when someone hones in on you ("STOP!" command), and I stress that much of the time you can ward off a potential threat by aggressive posturing. We work through scenario drills so students can practice pressing through when adrenaline kicks in, and I remind students to BREATHE so that they don't pass out when they experience the adrenaline rush. The last part of the class, I show students the final step of putting everything together and drawing from a holster. This is the stage of having the ability to follow through when your life is in danger. My thanks to John for his permission to share this with my students.

25 Dec 10

Violent Crime Prevented! From an Instructor in TX:

"One of our DTI graduates was involved in an 'incident' here in south Texas yesterday, Christmas Eve. Relying on his training, he engineered a good result! Our student is a forty-ish male. As with all our students down here, he has a current TX CHL, and carries regularly.

Yesterday morning, he was fueling-up at a local convenience store. We've both been to this same store many times. Nice part of town. Bright sunlight. Lots of traffic.

A car-full of youths pulled into the parking area, very fast, and then came to a sudden, screeching halt. They did not pull up to a gas-pump, nor into a marked, parking place. Our student noticed and immediately alerted.

One of the vehicle's slovenly occupants leaned out an open window, made eye-contact with our student, and said, in broken English, '... hey mister, give us some money.'

Adhering to his training, our student turned to face them, briefly glanced back over his shoulder, and replied, 'I'm sorry, Sir. I can't help you.' Another youth then exited the vehicle, slammed the door, and said in a loud, gruff, and threatening tone, '... you don't understand. You ARE going to give us your money!'

Our student gracefully assumed a classic Interview Stance, side-stepped, threw back his CCC cover-garment, and obtained a master-grip on his G23, although the pistol was not visible to the suspect doing the talking. Pointing at the suspect with his support-hand index and middle-fingers, he said,
clearly, and in perfect English, "No! YOU don't understand, Sir. I can't help you!"

The suspect, who, moments before, had been so intimidating and cocksure, glanced away, drooped his shoulders, mumbled incoherently, and then quickly turned and re-entered the vehicle, which precipitously departed as quickly as it had arrived.

No license plates on the suspect vehicle.

Our student then experienced an adrenaline dump, and noticed that his heart was racing. However, he knew from his training, that this was all perfectly normal He took a few deep breaths, and soon regained normal composure.

Police were not involved, and our student finished fueling his car and then went his way, in peace."

Comment: A violent crime was probably prevented, due to competent training, alertness, and adequate preparation. In this threatening situation, my student knew what to do, stayed in control, didn't panic, and was fully prepared to go "all the way," when necessary.

The hoodlum got the distinct, and correct, impression that he wasn't kidding!

Like all bullies, when his bluff was called, this sleazy punk promptly " folded his hand" and slunk away. They usually do!

This "happy ending" will never be reflected in any statistic, nor will it be part of any news story. Nonetheless, training, alertness, and preparation, once again, combined to keep a good person from being harmed by evil ones.

And, that's what it come down to: Good and Evil. Good people need to be armed, aware, competently trained, and prepared to successfully confront evil, when necessary. This world does not deal kindly with people, even "good" ones, who are clueless, naive, and willfully unprepared

"Second-place doesn't exist"!

G Pate

Merry Christmas to all!

/John
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Click the above to watch an awesome video (I love this, even if she does break a nail!)
Thanks to Jacque Mooney for forwarding it to me.


Tactical – of or pertaining to a maneuver or plan of action designed as an expedient toward gaining a desired end or temporary advantage; showing adroit planning; aiming at an end beyond the immediate action. From the Greek word taktikós.

OKC Man Faces Murder Charges in Wife's Shooting Death

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A probable cause affidavit reveals wild details in the death of an Oklahoma City woman whose husband said he accidentally shot her in the head.

In the affidavit released by the Oklahoma City Police Department, the affidavit notes the couple often engaged in sexual fantasies involving a gun.

The husband, Arthur Sedille, said he grabbed a gun off a shelf by the bed and racked the slide which caused the gun to cock. Sedille said not realizing it was loaded, he placed it next to his wife's head and it went off.

His wife, Rebecca Sedille, was transported to a hospital where she was pronounced dead. Sedille is being held in the Oklahoma County Jail on a first-degree murder complaint

Students who have taken the SDA class from me have heard me say in class that I have a real problem with the phrase, "it went off." This suggests that somehow – though we don't know how – the gun miraculously fired itself. The answer to how "it went off" is very plain and simple – someone placed a finger on the trigger. This is how a gun "goes off." The above demonstrates it precisely, only it is blatantly obvious, not to mention incredibly ignorant, that "it went off" because he pulled the trigger.

Every one of what I call the Four Cardinal Rules of Safety
was violated in the above scenario and a woman lost her life. This is what you can expect when safety rules are violated. It is why I enforce safety without compromise in all of my classes. It is why I take such a hard stand on safety in the conceal carry class, and why I developed Girls Day Out, because the majority of students who come to SDA, both men and women, are very inexperienced with guns. I stress in my classes that muscle memory is what will save your life in an attack situation because adrenaline will kick in and you will not be able to think it through in that moment so you must rely on muscle memory...which is conspicuously missing if you've not trained yourself in what to do. This also applies to safe gun handling. You might read the above and think, "that could never happen to me!" Why not? Do you know enough about safe gun handling to not DO something that dumb? Most of you would immediately answer a resounding YES! What about when you're at the range? Do you know enough about safe gun handling, and are you aware enough of your surroundings, and can you operate your gun without looking directly at all the time it so that you can watch your surroundings. so that you will know when the guy two lanes down points the muzzle of his gun sideways as he racks the slide with his finger on the trigger and it happens to be pointed at your head? Impossible? I wish I had a nickel for every time I saw that happen (and called people down for it as a Range Safety Officer) while working at public gun ranges.

I teach my students, starting in Girls Day Out, that they can not control someone else doing something stupid, but they can
protect themselves when they know something stupid is going on by LEAVING! I get more and more reports from students who have walked out of public ranges because they observed others violating safety protocol.

My SDA students may also remember hearing me say that some of us are trained that when a gun is pointed at us the correct response is to shoot that person. That is what law enforcement's knee jerk reaction is, which is why I teach so clearly in SDA
the appropriate way to respond to law enforcement as a conceal carry holder (to keep you from getting shot). In addition to that response, those of us who have been through the kind of training I have to date have gone through drills on how to take a gun away from someone. Because of my training, I will have one of two responses to someone pointing a gun at me (barring Range Safety Officer duties where I bark a drill sergeant command of MUZZLE DOWN RANGE!!), I will either take the gun away from the person or I will shoot them.

The above tragedy did not occur in some third world country many years ago, it happened in Oklahoma City last week. I'm sure that man has enough intelligence to drive a car, I bet he had a job, he evidently had no criminal background as he was able to purchase a gun. But none of that kept him from doing something supremely stupid. I tell my students they must observe all four cardinal rules at all times in order to stay safe...he violated all four of them at once. The first report on this said first degree murder charges were filed against him – first degree is premeditated murder. Perhaps it was ignorance (very believable after what I've seen in SDA classes and at public ranges) or perhaps it was premeditated – regardless, he's being charged with first degree murder, which can carry the death penalty (as it should). Evidently the act of stupidity was blatant enough the DA never considered manslaughter charge but went straight for first degree murder.

Here's another unpleasant point I must make...too many women trust that their spouses know what they're doing with a gun. Obviously that woman did. Can you imagine getting shot in the head by your own husband in your own bed? It is more common than most of you realize because many of those "accidents" don't make the headlines. This is EXACTLY why you need your own education, because you can not depend on ANYONE else to keep you safe. Would you trust someone else with a game of roulette? One of my high school classmates did, he trusted his best friend, and he blew his brains out right in front of his friend. To think "it won't happen to me" is premeditated ignorance.

I don't assume it won't happen, that no one will get shot because of something dumb (whether intentional or unaware). So while you may have experienced me having great patience in any class, including private lessons and live fire classes, when it comes to SDA when I know the students are inexperienced and I know I've provided a class to get them safely through SDA (Girls Day Out), I will be the meanest person in the world when I kick you out of class on the spot for a safety violation. To date I've not made any enemies over that, but quite frankly I don't care. Ignorance will get me killed just as quickly as intentional negligence. I consider ignorance INTENTIONAL when women have classes available and they do not take advantage of those classes.

I'm not in this to make friends – I have all the friends I want and need – I'm in this to empower women to protect themselves, and that starts with safety. Everything builds on safety, which is why I always include a safety lecture up front in every class. It is why I require students to be on time to classes. Lately I've been lax about that as I've had students who were late to class, but if you're signed up for any upcoming SDA class with me you will see in the instructions that I state students who are late will not be permitted entry into class. SDA starts with the safety requirements as all my classes do – students who miss this portion have not been given the rules, and therefore I cannot assume they understand what is expected of them...but I can assume they might violate safety protocol and so I will not risk my safety, nor any of my student's safety.

It infuriates me to read an article as the above because it is so utterly unnecessary – he should have been trained enough with his gun to know if he racked the slide it WILL put a bullet in the chamber so when he pulls the trigger, YES, the gun WILL go off! But even if he really was that stupid, she should have cared enough about her own self to know how to be safe around her husband or anyone else.


Contact me if there's a specific topic you'd like to see addressed in this section.



Awhile back I posted on my Links page that King's Pawn & Gun has UpLULAs in stock... as students learn in Girls Day Out
, these are hands down the best speed loader available! UpLULAs make it both easy and fun to load magazines 9mm and up. However, it doesn't work for .380 or below. Good news, they're now making one for those smaller calibers and King's has them. If you own a .22 or .380 (or anything in between ), it's worth a trip to King's for the Baby UpLULA. Hey, it's worth the trip to King's just for the awesome deals they have on guns...it is the temptation I cannot resist, and I continually add to my collection thanks to King's!


On a visit to King's last week I saw a Ruger LCP in what the guys told me was raspberry. Now I am not a pink gun fan, but this is hot pink...once again I was very tempted, but I decided to save some guns for others to buy. This is what it looks like:

I will be very honest with you, most women (including myself) do not like .380s. Particularly the small ones like the LCP leave no place for recoil except your into hand so it feels like getting slammed in the hand with a brick when you shoot them (most unpleasant). So, don't buy a .380 just because it's small – 9mm is a larger caliber but has less felt recoil than a .380, and 9mm (and above) is what I and many others consider a true self-defense caliber. And don't buy a .380 because it's cute – I mean, grant it, that is a perfectly acceptable reason to buy a gun (as long as it's good quality).

This will be my next .380, can anyone guess why? (click photo for closeup) It's a Sig so not only is it pretty, it's high quality!

But if you know what you're getting, the Ruger LCP is one of the more pleasant .380s I've shot (next to the the Kahr .380) and it's a good quality pocket pistol. When I say "pocket pistol" I mean just that – there are times I want to go out in the front yard when mowing, away from my usual arms, and if it's 110º I really don't want to put on the usual gear...so a pistol I can put in my pocket is quite handy in that situation. My .380 is an AMT Backup (its name indicates its purpose as a backup gun) and is small enough to drop in a pocket. So know what you're getting, and understand it won't be pleasant to shoot so you won't want to spend much time practicing with it. You do need to spend enough time shooting it to be comfortable with it, but you probably won't enjoy it like you do other guns. B
ut it makes a great pocket pistol or backup gun, and in a crisis you're not going to care that it feels like getting slammed in the hand with a brick!

You might even go over to H&H and rent an LCP to make sure you can live with a .380. You probably won't want to shoot a whole box of 50, but again, consider what it is and pace yourself in becoming comfortable with it.

And if, after knowing all that, somebody wants a hot pink pocket pistol, I have (at the moment) left it for someone else to buy!

I also noticed on my last visit that King's has OtterBoxes, including a pink & black one. So if you're looking for a cover for your iPhone that will supposedly withstand being run over by a car (I can't get a volunteer to test that!), King's has you covered on that too!

One more thing, King's has exceptionally good prices on defense (hollowpoint) ammo in all calibers.

Go by and see Tim, Steve and Mike, and tell them Tammy from Oklahoma Personal Defense sent you. They'll treat you right and give you a great deal!


Continued...from a publication that purports to teach women how to defend themselves. My comments are in blue.

The directions for this move say to roll up a magazine and jab him in the back of the neck with it. Ladies if you're in this position, don't waste your time hitting him with a rolled up magazine – it will accomplish NOTHING! What will accomplish something is to grab his hair with both hands and pull his head down into your knee as you simply lift it up to meet his face!


This time it's a guy defending himself...with a pair of nail clippers...I wonder if he works for TSA, they seem to think you can inflict damage with nail clippers.



No man would ever do this, and if a man taught this "technique" to a room full of men he'd be laughed out of the room. So why is it being taught to women? You'd be amazed at how much is being taught to women by men that they would never, ever do. I only teach what I use myself – if it keeps me safe, I know it will keep my students safe.
I believe any woman with the ability to think can figure out why this is not a self-defense move. Think about it, what exactly will happen if you poke an attacker in the heart area with a key? There is no "stabbing" because you cannot thrust a key hard enough to cut through clothing, let alone skin.



Real life stories in their own words from students of how they used
something they learned in class to deal with a potential threat
(used by permission)
Email
me your story.

Punched in the Face at a Car Wash
by
Deanna

Tammy,
 
I have a story to tell about being robbed many years ago at a car wash on N.W. 23rd.  I was new to the Oklahoma City area and naive that these type of crimes actually occurred.  I pulled up in the island at the car wash with my wallet in lap to get change for car wash when a man jumped in the passenger seat of my car.  This occurred on a busy summer afternoon in broad day light.  He first spoke to me about helping me wash my car for a little change, then grabbed my wallet out of my lap.  When, I said “Hey” and tried to grab it back he punched me in the face & took off running.  He took me for several hundred dollars, as it was the 1st of month and bills were due.  I still carry the reminder due to the scar under my right eye. 

Analysis

This section has been a place where I post stories from women who have used something they learned in training to ward off a potential threat. An attack could happen to any of us, so we must never pass judgment on someone who failed to ward off a potential threat. What we can do is learn from the situation...this is why I study case files of crime victims.

Deanna's story is all too familiar...many women have had close calls and have not actually experienced a threat carried through to attack. Unfortunately some women like Deanna have felt the attack as it landed, and still carry the scars, whether emotional or physical (often both). Deanna understood as she wrote this that she was naive at the time, and we can realize reading it from the distance of years past that she did not have the opportunity as we do today with classes such as OPD offers to keep women from becoming victims. Now the opportunity exists, which is exactly why I have developed the classes and hold them as often as I can. My goal from the beginning has been to empower women to protect themselves. This is not just a cliche or catchy slogan, it is the driving force behind everything I teach. Empowerment means real training that any woman can use to keep herself from being victimized. No, we don't have the strength to fight off a man sitting in our front seat, so we must instead keep him out by keeping our doors locked at all times, and by being aware of what's going on around us. If he should succeed in getting in, we must not be caught as a deer in the headlights and allow him to physically hurt us, we must be prepared to get away from him or hurt him first. There are many ways to accomplish both, which is what I teach in Between the Threat and the Bang and And Everything Else.

It is important to understand that not all training will give you what you need to actually defend yourself. This does not mean the training (or trainer) is bad – for example, there are a lot of very good martial arts training classes. I do not teach martial arts because, 1. I don't subscribe to close contact self-defense for women because we can not physically overpower a man, 2. it can take years to acquire the skill levels needed to be truly effective, and 3. not everyone has the physical strength or maneuvering ability required for martial arts...and if you do now, will you still have it when you're 60 or 70? I do teach some of the Krav Maga break away techniques because they are methods that can be done by anyone. But I still prefer dealing with a threat at a enough of a distance the attacker cannot lay hands on me. Students in my And Everything Else classes all had a difficult time attacking the mannequin at a close enough distance to be effective because they were very uncomfortable being that close to a mock attacker. This is indicative of a woman's temperament, so it will always be difficult for us to be very effective at close range. We are simply not built, mentally or physically, for hand to hand combat.

So there are all kinds of self-defense classes out there, some good, some not so good, some downright bad (like the man who teaches the "methods" posted above). But even if they are great classes, you have to determine if it is something that will apply to you. Can you effectively defend yourself against a six foot tall man who will have much more physical strength than you with the method you have learned? This is why I teach practical techniques that any woman can do, regardless of age or fitness level, so that she can actually deal with a threat. It is not false security, nor false bravado, it is simply the ability to be the one who goes home still intact.

Every woman has the ability to acquire the skill set needed to defend herself because what that requires is a brain...this is one reason why women excel in personal defense techniques when they learn methods they can utilize, because we analyze and think things through. Think about it, how much more confident are you about doing something when, 1. you know you can do it and 2. you know it's going to work? Conversely, like the "NQR" (not quite right) feeling I teach about in many of my classes, if it's something you won't be able to do (even if you take the class and learn the method), somewhere deep inside you know you won't be able to effectively deal with a threat and you will respond accordingly. This is why learning methods you can actually use to defend yourself builds confidence, replaces fear from a past attack, and actually empowers you.

I'm always moved when women like Deanna have the courage to share their stories...it means she is brave enough to learn from a past mistake and not stay there, living in fear. Bravery is not the absence of fear, it is the ability to press on through and become a stronger person on the other side. Deanna is a courageous woman, and she has begun the process of empowering herself through training...she's on the road to becoming one of the "dangerous women" of Oklahoma City!

Tammy

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