This workshop provides a practical introduction to Empowerment Self-Defense (ESD), a feminist, gender-inclusive self-defense system. Empowerment Self-Defense treats violence as a tool of social control and self-defense as a method of changing a culture of violence. Accordingly, ESD attends to recurrent scripts for violence and provides verbal and physical means of both self-protection and conflict resolution. ESD also recognizes that empowerment requires an unlearning and challenging of social norms as well as learning physical and verbal skills for self-protection.
In this workshop, students will learn verbal and physical strategies for countering violence as well as the mechanisms through which violence typically occurs. The workshop will consists of verbal exercises, physical drills, and discussion.
Topics will include boundary setting, conflict resolution strategies, defense stances, body targets, fighting from the ground, breaking choke holds and wrist grabs, and countering grabs from behind.
Janet (Jay) O’Shea is Professor of World Arts and Cultures/Dance. She is an assistant instructor with IMPACT Personal Safety and is currently pursuing an instructorship in Empowerment Self-Defense. A practitioner of martial arts such as Jeet Kune Do, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and Filipino Martial Arts, she is completing a book manuscript entitled Risk, Failure, Play: What Martial Arts Training Reveals about Proficiency, Competition, and Cooperation and focused on the individual and societal benefits of physical play. She is author of At Home in the World: Bharata Natyam on the Global Stage and co-editor of the Routledge Dance Studies Reader (second edition). Recipient of a Transdisciplinary Seed Grant to study the cognitive benefits of martial arts training, she has also published general non-fiction, dance journalism, and short fiction.