With the onset of lockdown after Grade 10, I all but stopped playing Taekwondo, where I had learned some of the most essential skills for life which is self-defense as it makes you prepared for various situations. In this experience, I planned our self-defense techniques to learn online and first practiced them individually and then with my sister.I learned 15 of them many of them from the martial arts discipline of Judo.
This was a new experience for me, as even though I had learned this in Taekwondo, I had never done it independently before.
The biggest challenges I faced were as follows:
1. Self-defense is dangerous: All throughout the experience I had to consciously make sure that neither I nor my sister gets injured while performing any of the techniques, which required a lot of effort and hence was challenging. This is something that scared me a lot, as it would have been an avoidable injury.
2. Intricate techniques and becoming comfortable with executing them: Since I was doing this independently, i.e, learning and practicing techniques from the internet by myself first and then with my sister, I had some trouble learning the more difficult forms of techniques and also choosing the most relevant and doable ones, which I found useful and safe. It was challenging to distinguish. In order to overcome this, I made sure to keep practicing till I am able to replicate the technique to a comparable extent.
3. Identifying applications and scenarios- One of my most challenging aims was to come up with various scenarios like somebody grabbing you from behind, somebody holds your hand, choking, etc, which I found after a point could get repetitive. I made it a point to get as many opinions and inputs regarding this from my family to see if they could come up with more diversified and unusual scenarios.
This was a completely self-initiated activity which I was self-motivated to do, as after leaving Taekwondo, I found that I had lost many of the most essential skills which I had learned. In order to relearn them, I had to come up with an organized plan which allowed me to accomplish this goal alongside my other activities. I made sure to start with something easy such as blocking punches and slaps and gradually moved onto techniques that involved footwork and throwing, mainly adapted from judo. It was important to build difficulty step by step so that I could get tuned with the basics. Every day before I started I would make a list of scenarios that I wanted to cover, such as back choke, front choke, general street fight, forward mount, backward mount, hand-holding, etc, and then look up online techniques accordingly and practice them. Having this plan in mind made it much easier to diversify what I learned and keep track of my progress and the techniques covered( to avoid repetition). Another essential aspect of planning was that it was important to be well-coordinated and organized with my sister, as the times when we were free differed, so I had to make sure that I was prepared with all the required materials, safety measures, and the technique practiced with its basics ready on an individual basis, so as to avoid wasting time. Disruptions to my schedule included not being able to find or learn a technique in time which hampered my pace and planning, I overcame that by leaving enough margin for such circumstances while planning for the next technique and adjusting my schedule according to the difficulty of the technique.
Being ethical was integral to this process in several ways and it involved a lot of ethical decision making, which are as follows:
1. Not doing dangerous techniques- I had to filter out all the unreasonably dangerous techniques which absolutely could not be done at home at all, as it would have been unethical to even try them, as they carry a great risk of harming someone else, namely my sister. Letting that happen to further your own progress in a field would be unethical, hence I avoided it.
2. Not doing without supervision- It would have been unethical to conduct any of this without parental supervision, no matter how confident I was with executing the technique, as there is always a risk of injury and adult supervision, will not only help recognize if something can go wrong and prevent it but also be there in case something goes wrong/ injury happens. Even if I was comfortable with the technique, I needed to recognize that the safety of others is just as important, hence, adult supervision is required.
3. Not doing without all safety precautions and limiting execution of techniques- Some of the techniques I intended to execute involved throwing a person and letting them fall to the ground. So I had to take care of the fact that while there is nothing wrong with practicing the technique, I cant actually let my sister fall and injure herself, I had to hold her before that. Injuring her for the sake of my practice would have caused her harm and hence would have been unethical. In the case where she unintentionally does fall, safety precautions were in place.
4. Not doing anything which my sister wasn’t comfortable with- Given that self-defense involves a great degree of contact, I had to make sure to consider the ethical implications of my actions in the form that any technique that my sister did not feel comfortable with practicing, due to whatever reason needed to be avoided. Other’s comfort level is important too.
I also will not be uploading any photos or videos she did not give me permission to.
In summary, all throughout the process, I considered the safety and comfort level of my sister as well, which was an ethical decision to make and abide by.
The websites often referred to for the techniques was: https://www.survivalfitnessplan.com/basic-judo-throws-self-defense/