supposed to die

What I did on my summer vacation

Last weekend, I took a five-hour class on fighting back in enclosed spaces. I did this solely for my writing.  I do not ever plan to use it in real life. It was based on a Russian martial art called Systema. The core principles of Systema are: breathe, relax, maintain your posture and never stop moving.  It was amazing to me how movements that didn't look like much - to an observer, a move might just look like a shoulder shrug for example - packed such a powerful wallop. The class was a great supplement to what I've already learned in kajukenbo and kung fu.

It was taught by Dean Foster, who has black belt rankings in several styles.  He is also a police officer, a SWAT team member, and has trained Navy SEALs.

I learned how to fight back against guns, knives, garrotes, and even having a plastic bag yanked over your head. Plus it's just plain fun to listen to precepts such as, "Look at the knife, you'll get the knife" or "If you're going to die anyway, what does it matter if you get cut or shot?" (Fun for me, anyway, but many of the people in the class were professionals who actually have to worry about that kind of thing in real life.)

I probably spoiled the effect by smiling so much.

The plastic bag looks the scariest but isn't.  Working quickly, you suck it in hard, chew on it with your front teeth, and stick out your tongue. Voila! Instant air hole.  Will a character need to do this at some point? Of course!

Thanks to Ben Read for the photos.
I'm not sure I could have gone into it without some background. I was definitely the odd girl out. I didn't know anyone there (everyone else did) and I was the only woman and for that matter nearly the oldest (there was a retired cop/Systema guy who was older than me). I had been willing to play the female/age cards, but actually most of them seemed worried about hurting me. I had to keep reassuring them I got hit harder in kung fu sparring.

It was really fun, and I was proud of myself that I'm at the point where I actually thought it was fun.
I'm sure your kung fu background helped make you "fit in" in the men's eyes a lot more! It was very brave of you and very cool!
I see a story in your future where a mystery author doing research on murder gets in over her head. Suspense and intrigue follow...
I have been over my head many times ... but usually people have had mercy on me. It helps if you're willing to laugh at yourself.