Monday, October 31, 2011

Library Books Are No Longer Just For Checking Out in Chandler

Imagine – you’re in-between bookshelves at the public library just before closing – someone sneaks up behind and grabs you. What do you do with that book in your hand?

When I attended graduate school at the University of Utah and later at the University of New Mexico, I often remember working late in the evening in the library and sitting at a table in the back of the library. Friday and Saturday nights were very quiet and it seemed as if I had the library all to myself. In this day and age, this should be of some concern.

Recently, I enjoyed meeting and training librarians and staff of the Chandler Public Library who may one day be confronted with this or other scenarios. It wasn't too long ago, I taught a group of girl scouts from Mesa, Gilbert and Chandler many of the same techniques using the contents of their school backpacks (I was really surprised how much those girls could cram into a backpack.

Having an extensive background in karate and kobudo provides the ability to use almost anything one carries to work, school, or the local grocery store as a weapon - even your car keys, cell phone, etc. Kobudo is a martial art that teaches use of Okinawan farming and fishing implements, as well as modern garden and construction tools, as weapons of self-defense. These techniques and philosophy can be extended to almost anything you can carry in your hands.

During the seminar, I was assisted by one of my students - Charles Jean, as we taught the attendees how to escape from wrist grabs, lapel grabs and bear-hugs, by using elbows, knees, feet and hands. Then we got into the kobudo portion of the seminar and worked on using books, pens, and car keys for self-defense tools against aggressive attacks. I was hoping to also get a chance to teach them the use of magazines, coins, credit cards, belts, etc as weapons, but this was only a brief introduction. The attendees were surprised to find they were working with potential self-defense weapons every day and even checking them out to the public. Who would have thought that a book or rolled up magazine could be so effective in self-defense.

Over the years, I've taught many dozens of self-defense clinics. I taught all day clinics to some political groups, civic groups, EMT employees, university faculty and staff, military, scouts, teachers, women’s clubs, sororities, religious groups, karate students, and martial arts instructors and I always enjoy teaching because it is rewarding to meet new people but also it is rewarding to see the excitement in the students as they discover how easy it is to defend themselves. I'm also a geologist, artist and public speaker, but for me, it is difficult for anything to match the satisfaction of seeing someone discover this innate ability to defend. The only thing for me that matches this satisfaction, is discovery of new mineral deposits.

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