I’ve been diligently living down a reputation for over a decade now, but in my day I threw a few punches, and a few bottles. When I was a trashy pile, I was never a fucker, I was a fighter. That’s long since been put to bed, as I retired from in your face partying. However, I can still be a wee bit aggressive, so I’m prone to long walks and yoga. I caged my beast, and we’re all better off for it.

Recently a good friend opened a martial arts academy with his “master”. OK first off, I dig any situation where somebody’s called “master”, it’s so “Highlander”. Bearing in mind that my dad is studying Iaido, and I know we have wizard blood, I took up the call to attend the first Women’s Self Defense Class at MUSA Martial Arts Academy.

MUSA is in Larchmont Village and I got there a little early, so I could suss the situation. My friend, who opened the academy with his master, was setting up. I took off my shoes and got on the matt. My Pops would have been psyched, as MUSA had all the trappings of serious training.

About fifteen amazing chicks showed up, all shapes and sizes, with my second mom coming in hot as the oldest and baddest bitch in the room. The class was taught by Master Davis, with the school’s  belted students giving us one on one instruction, or offer a surface to hit.

Without whiskey and a wailing band in the background, I found out I hit like a girl. So tentative, not at all like the slugger I’d imagined myself to be. Also, my early ballet training kicked in and instead of a stance, I was doing a dance. We were taught to stay in a comfortable stance and advance, move left, move right, and retreat, each frickin’ time I ended up doing The Hustle, minus the spin and clap. I don’t know what possessed me, but I wore Hammer pants, which did not help me to take myself seriously. Although, if I keep wearing the Hammer pants, I won’t need self defense.

Once we’d learned our stance, and how to move out of harm’s way, while staying protected, we learned the most basic self defense for any chick, getting out of an arm grab. We lined up, practicing the drill. It was like Girl’s PE Class, mad giggly. Once we’d mastered the physics and physicality of getting out of the grab the instructors brought out the pads and it was time to hit. We learned to hit with an open hand, going for the head, specifically the ear, as we dodged our oncoming attacker. Maybe it was because my attacker was hilarious and easy on the eyes, but I went full spaz. It’s casual, I’m used being me. Fortunately, my coach was tolerant, and I finally made contact and WHOMPED the target. Instructed to shout on my next turn, I shouted “meow”. Hammer pants and public meows, am I a cat lady so soon?

After learning how to properly knee an attacker in the groin, we learned to defend ourselves from the ground and how to get up without turning your back. It was simple but complicated. I’d watch the demonstration and understand conceptually, but my brain’s message to my limbs took a few tries to get through. Once I had it I was on my back with feet of fire, rotating left and right. I looked across the room and my second mom looked like an angry scorpion. This class was getting live and ladies were shouting and attacking all over  the matt.

The last thing we learned was a combo of grab release and hammer fist. Obviously “hammer fist” is the name of a band I started in my mind right then and there. Hammer fist is when you blind your attacker with your flash light, and then hammer it down on his stunned face. Hammer fist is as gnarly as it sounds.

(Photo: Tondi Greenberg)

Master Davis closed the class with a wicked nunchuck demo. With so much yet to learn, and for me an opportunity to wear more appropriate pants, I hope that I will see some of these ladies at the Saturday Adult Self Defense Class. In addition to the regular class, there will be a monthly free Women’s Self Defense Class. I dig businesses that are down for the community and a free class for the local ladies is that.

Check out http://www.musamartialarts.com

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