Sunday, August 18, 2013

Fight, Flight, or Freeze

"Sit down on your knees in the front of the room. Put your hands on your lap, palms face down. Tilt your head downward. Close your eyes. Breathe. Wait."

I had to follow these instructions today at Kajukenbo class. I didn't want to do it. Coach knew I didn't want to do it. Although the main reason behind me doing self-defense/MMA is to face my fears and be able to stand my ground and protect myself, I still get scared. Most of that stems from when I was attacked when I was much younger. For years I never gave my back to anyone. I never sat with my back to the door; I always felt nervous when people were walking behind me. I've gotten over that now (though typing it out has made my pulse quicken).

I've been working through my apprehension of being attacked from the front - grabbed, choked, hit. I've gotten much better at that as I've learned to fight back.

Brazilian Jiujitsu (BJJ) was taking it to another level as I was putting myself in a vulnerable position - on the ground with an opponent on top of me.

The control I've learned through Jiujitsu has been amazing. My heart still races, but with each technique I learn, my confidence grows a little. I feel like I'm improving -- and that sense of control that BJJ provides and the knowledge of how to use your body to protect yourself has made it such a rewarding experience.

So front attacks and being mounted are two things that I've steadily been working on ... but allow someone to attack me from the back? You've got to be kidding me?

It was really hard for me to walk up to the front of the room and sit down. I didn't want to close my eyes. I didn't want to be there.

I wanted to run.

The attack came suddenly - one of the girls grabbed me from behind, like a bear hug (the coach was instructing the 'attacker' about what to do, so it wasn't random).

I froze.

For several seconds, I was absolutely still.
I couldn't move.
My heart was racing. Flashbacks were flying through my mind at a million miles an hour.
I could hear voices in the distance, instructions from the Coach as to what to do, but I couldn't hear it. I couldn't hear anything.
I lost touch with reality. I didn't know where I was or what was going on.

She pulled me to the ground, and that's when in a flash I was out of there. I turned inward and crawled out.

Again, I heard voices around me, but I couldn't hear. I was shaking and I had tears threatening to fall. Coach said I did good, but I was too overwhelmed. I didn't feel it. The flashbacks were still haunting me - the feeling of being attacked was too raw.

I was shaking so bad I could barely untie my belt. I had tears of fear in my eyes.

As emotional as it all was, I was also frustrated that I could be so vulnerable. I know that this is the first time I've ever put myself (been put) in such a situation, but still. I feel like I've been working towards getting over my fears for so long ... will it ever end?

My Coach's words, "Let's break this" rang in my ears. Of course I want to break through this fear, but I have a feeling that I have a long way to go.

I'm trying to stay positive and remind myself that this was the first step. I took it. I survived. I may have faltered a little, but I survived.


  1. Hi Ayesha, Well, it sounds like you have some PTSD flashbacks in these self-defense situations. But at least you are facing it. I love that character trait about you. I should take a self-defense class too. :D

  2. Wow! That sounds intense. I don't have PTSD but I know I wouldn't do well taking this kind of class. I get anxious when I'm feeling vulnerable So brave of you!

  3. Hi Ayesha, when I read this post I felt like coming and giving you a big hug (many virtual hugs comming your way), its wonderful that you are facing your fears, you are very brave and very strong...
    loads of love

  4. Good for you! Fear is the mindkiller! Learning a martial art is a great idea on many levels! I think BJJ is a good one. If you can, learn some Kenpo karate striking techniques to go along with that(think all the techniques that are "illegal" in BJJ :-).

  5. PTSD can be crippling. The more you talk about it the less traumatic it becomes. At least that is what the experts tell me.

  6. The "mom" in me just wanted to grab you and protect you from that situation, but I also know that facing this is probably really good for you. Hang in there. You are strong!

  7. GM Janice9:47 AM

    We met, we talked, we shared...YOU conquered. GM Janice


Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! I can use all the support I can get :)