All posts in Self-Defense

United States – Washington – Spokane – Nick Ellis

[simpletabs style=”3″] [simpletab title=”About”] Nick Ellis Jeet Kune Do Athletic Association – Intructor “I will help you build confidence in yourself, courage to stand up in that dark hour, strength to persevere, and give you the strategies to make it home safe”  ~ Nick Ellis [/simpletab] [simpletab title=”Contact Information”] Address • Spokane WA EMail • Website • Facebook • [/simpletab] [simpletab title=”Events and Classes”] Event and Class Schedule March 2nd, Day of Action. Spokane WA at the Spokane Christian Center. 8909 E Bigelow Gulch Rd.   10am-1pm Spokane WA 99217 [/simpletab] [/simpletabs] [mla_gallery attachment_category=’LEAVE-BLANK’]

Escape to Gain Safety

Empowerment and Self Defense

Martial Composure – A Story of Escape

by Andrea Shank

On the night of July 14th, after Japan beat Sweden in the semi-finals of Women’s World Cup 2011, I was roofied. I remember sitting at the bar down the street, playing a game of Uno with some friendly folks on the right, when a hipster guy sat to my left. We exchanged nice enough words, and I danced in my chair, as I do, then black. I vaguely remember his face, but not so much that as his person, being too close to me.

I “came to” in full sprint down the stairs, through the base level of my apt, out the back door, across the porch, and into the private alley. I was completely consumed with an inexplicable fear. I tried the neighbor’s gate, but finding it locked, moved on the next. When the latch opened, I crawled into the overgrown yard, crouched near the fence, and waited. And waited. And waited. Until I couldn’t hear a sound, and then I waited longer still. In that time, I was shaking, unable to understand how I came to be so overwhelmingly wracked with terror, yet frozen in my hiding place.

Eventually I came out of hiding to find my roommate, who I clung to for another long while, and eventually started looking for my phone. I had left it at the bar with a tab I walked out on, neither of which is normal behavior. I settled up and retrieved my phone. Still very flustered, I sat up in bed texting a friend, trying to calm down, when I dipped out of consciousness again. Three hours I sat, on the edge of my lofted bed, phone in hand. I resuscitated, typed something incoherent, vomited into the toilet, and went to sleep. The next day I was ill when awake, and fitful when asleep, until late in the afternoon. The rest of that day I fought a splitting headache and a terrible body-ache. I pieced together events with both roommates to deduce what had happened.

24 hours after being out of control: As I sit here, meditating on how I feel, I can sense my confidence returning. As a martial artist, I feel almost ashamed that I did not physically defend myself. I have trained my entire adult life for the most terrifying moment, but I did nothing but run and hide. I’m conflicted: what I did was instinct, and it saved me. I have to wonder if this isn’t what I train for: the ability to trust in myself, to gain a sense of the world and my place in it. I may not have hurt my attacker, but maybe that would’ve only provoked him. Maybe I truly assessed my situation and, given my altered and vulnerable state, acted decisively and accurately. Is this merely a dangerous pride I’ve seen some in my home dojo fall prey to? Should I not be thankful I escaped, and not worry about defending my honor? To be sure, I had better never see that man’s face. For all the peace I am trying to find I would restrain no part of my wrath; I feel there’s a larger lesson here. One of how I cope with the hard things. One of how I see myself. One of how I feel about where I am in life. So I was truly in danger: I faced my fear and reacted to it accordingly. If this isn’t something I have practiced to show strength in, then my Senseis would be amiss. Perhaps, in that moment, I was a master martial artist. The more time that passes, the more I know that my martial arts training saved me from that man’s intentions, and perhaps even my life. Despite being drugged, I was able to read the situation and spring to action quickly, using the fight-or-flight response as fuel to gain enough consciousness to get out of the way, as it were. This is where belt testing is more than just a new color and rank: being able to experience that rush of adrenaline and still maintain your head, especially when the test is a surprise. I no longer doubt my actions, or wish I had used the skills in fighting I have developed. Instead I take stock in my ability to get out of harm’s reach. I am more wary, but I do not hesitate to walk down my street anymore. I plan on returning to the bar to continue watching “footy on the telly” as they are known for. So, though I experienced a more crippling fear than ever before in my life, I am able to move on. I know I will continue to deal with this experience for some time, and will takes steps to return to a calm centered state. I strive to take the energy that comes at me, and to redirect it, leaving only the slightest residue on my core.


Andrea Shank is a budding… well, that is yet to be seen. She has a Bachelor’s degree from University of Miami in Visual Communication, specializing in Photojournalism, as well as International Studies, with a minor in Marine Science. She has been practicing martial arts for seven years, studying Karate, Aikido, and Jeet Kune Do so far. She has circumnavigated the globe and shows no signs of stopping travel anytime soon. She began writing in her early years as a coping skill through journaling, but now explores her talent for words through various blogs, including the prestigious BB Publications.