Tony Esposito

Editorial Director
Grace A. Luppino

Art & Production Director
David Griffith

Technical Advisor.
Anup Keswani

Illustration & Photography
Tom Brenner
Jim Herity
Julie Nightingale

Posted: Summer 2002

Honoring Yourself: Women and Self Defense

Since September 11, the word "terrorism" has permeated the English language. Turn on the television or radio, pick up a newspaper, book or magazine, eavesdrop on a conversation and we're talking terrorism. We did not however have to wait to September 11th to realize that terrorism is alive and well in this country, as well as around the world. The terrorism I am talking about is violence against women.

Women and girls live with the reality of violence on a daily basis, whether it's date rape, domestic violence, sexual assault, sexual abuse and sexual harassment. Women have to worry about going out at night, what they're wearing, where they're going and who they're going with. Many can't even find refuge in their own homes. One out of every four women is a victim of violent attacks and violence does not discriminate. Violence knows no age, marital status, class, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation. Regardless of the pervasiveness of violence against women, we have yet to see a war against it.

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The war against women must begin in the heart and soul of the female population. On a mental level, we must realize that we are worth defending and that we are our first line of defense. On a physical level, we must realize that we can make our bodies strong and learn the tools necessary to defend ourselves if our lives are being threatened. Why spend endless hours in a gym peddling a stationary bike that gets you nowhere? What utility is there in zoning out on an elliptical trainer? Why not opt for a fitness regime that not only makes you strong and healthy, but also teaches you how to use your body as a weapon?

While many fitness centers offer kickboxing, don't be lulled into a false sense of security that the class you have been taking will do you any good in a real self- defense situation. Many of these courses are taught by fitness instructors who have no idea of how to teach the martial arts, let alone apply them in a self -defense situation. We have seen a mass exodus from many of these so-called kickboxing classes with women (and men) suffering from a variety of injuries due to a lack of knowledge on the part of these instructors. We have had to undo the bad habits learned in these classes that lead to poorly executed techniques, torn ligaments and even broken bones.

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On Friday, May 24, 2002, Sony Pictures released the film Enough starring Jennifer Lopez. In this movie, Ms. Lopez plays a battered woman who desperately tries to flee her abusive husband and start a new life. Unfortunately, she has nowhere to hide as he finds her at every turn. With nowhere to run, she must make the choice that any cornered creator must face, die or fight back. She chooses the latter. What would you do given that choice? Would you wait for the police? Would you wait for the court system? Would you wait for someone else to come to your rescue?

Honor yourself enough to make self-defense a part of your life. Find a school that will give you the tools you need to become a strong, confident and capable woman. Next time your health club membership is up for renewal, tell them 'no thanks' and put your money toward a good martial arts school that trains you for the real world. One that will make you strong both mentally and physically. This is the greatest gift you can give yourself.

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"There is no doubt in my mind that women can learn to defend themselves," says Calasanz. In his twenty plus years in teaching the martial arts, Calasanz is proud to have trained many women in the art of self defense. "We base our training on realism and how to apply what you have learned in the school on the streets. Calasanz adds that it's not all about strength, but rather fighting smart. Remember that women have to fight smart in order to compensate for the difference in strength between the sexes. Pound per pound, I have seen women in this school develop the skill necessary to inflict serious injury to an attacker. My approach to self-defense is based on logic and science, rather than a brutal training regime."

In this issue of the Calasanz NewsMagazine, we profile several women here at Calasanz who have chosen the martial arts as their path to physical fitness, physical protection and spiritual upliftment. I hope you enjoy reading their stories as much as I enjoyed the interviews. May they be a source of inspiration.

Yours in Martial Spirit,

Editorial & Program Director
Calasanz Physical Arts

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