Some of us have had close calls, and some are pretty harrowing, especially if you become injured. They remind you of your vulnerability and the need to learn self-defense. Most people take their safety for granted until they have something terrible happen like an attempted robbery. This happened to me and a few friends as we were walking home at night on an empty road from the comedy club to home. Not two days later, we all joined a self-protection class. This should not sound like a surprise. It is a natural reaction to want to do something to counter any onslaught to the self. In the class, they talked a lot about being in the wrong place at the wrong time and how to scare off offenders with an aggressive stance. They highlighted the role of confidence, the only way to intimidate someone larger than you. Of course, if you travel in packs, a robbery is less likely to happen and in our case we had begun to separate as we approached our individual homes. The mugger focused on the remaining lone person on the sidewalk. It was sheer terror.

I found the part of the course about getting stronger and more fit to be of vital importance. It really hit home as I consider myself weak, especially in the upper body. Crazy as this sounds, I bought a regulation punching bag that I installed in the basement for the purposes of a home workout. It is not just for fun although it can be. It is not just for good exercise although it can be. I am told that in no time flat, my arms will be more developed and powerful. It is not that I am going to punch an attacker, but that I will appear like a more formidable foe. It is your self-image that is projected in times of trouble and you want that image to be one of strength. You stand tall with legs planted firmly feet apart and you lift your head and chest as if to make yourself inches taller. The art of body language is that it can be learned and you can adopt any attitude you want if you know how to send the right signals. If approached by an attacker, you want to send out signals, not of vulnerability, but of strength. You may scream or yell to add to your aggressive posture. This has sent more than one mugger running in fear. When the attacker loses his advantage, his ploy falls apart. He senses that he is no longer the one in control. It is miraculous how you can do this.

The punching bag has been a godsend as I enjoy working out and see the results that I want right now. My friends come over to let out their aggressions, but it is more than that for me. It is my secret key to self-empowerment. I guarantee you the same results.