The ABC’s of Empowerment Self-Defense
Self-defense is more than just how hard you can hit. It is the full spectrum of tools that you can use to protect yourself every single day. We utilize skills from self-defense in our decision-making processes, such as when we communicate with people, when we drive or do activities, and more! Self-defense is really so expansive that we thought we would give you a better idea of what to expect when you take a self-defense class with IMPACT by breaking it down for you ABC-style.
The Letter C
Consent is the informed, clear, conscious decision by each party to engage in a mutually agreed-upon activity (sexual or otherwise). It is the way that we move through the world, conscious of our own needs and boundaries and an ability to listen and honor other’s needs and boundaries. Consent asks us to assess what is going on with ourselves and what is going on with the other person. Are there non-verbal cues that may be happening with someone else, or with ourselves, that are expressing a desire to stop? How can we communicate that boundary with the other person/persons or receive a boundary being set with us?
Building a consent practice that exists in all areas of our lives can really benefit us and our personal wellbeing. As mentioned, consent doesn’t just exist in sexual situations, we can practice consent with our friends, our family, and even with ourselves. Building our consent practice starts with being aware of our needs/wants/desires and choosing to honor those. When we know that we need to take an evening off, yet find ourselves checking and responding to emails, we are breaking boundaries and breaking consent with ourselves. The next step is being able to express our needs to others. As discussed in our last post of the series, we are our boundaries best advocates. When we express our boundaries, we let people know what we do and do not consent to (knowing that this can change as our needs and wants change). Lastly, we need to be aware of what is happening with others and be ready to check in with them about their needs. Consent isn’t always given verbally, and if you sense that something is off with someone, the best way to know is to pause and check in.
When we talk about consent, we mainly focus on not giving or taking away consent. However, consent is just as much about saying “yes” to what you want to do, as it is about saying “no” to what you don’t want to do. Consent can be an opportunity to explore and play. Building a consent practice can give us the opportunity to be in deeper connection with ourselves and others. We are more able to try new things when we are aware of how our body feels when we do and don’t want to do something. Our consent practice sits in the middle of our awareness and boundary setting practice, and similar to how boundaries can facilitate deeper connection, so can our consent practice.
Talking about consent can be difficult. But starting with smaller boundaries can help. It can give you more practice and more confidence with sticking up for yourself. So, when a harder conversation regarding consent happens, you have the skills and confidence you’ve practiced to fall back on.