Mary Brandl, of BPS Communications Workshops came to visit Touchstone in May to give staff and clients a lesson in personal safety and self-defense. With a 4th degree black belt in Karate, Mary uses principals from martial arts to teach people of all abilities practical measures they can take to potentially avoid a physical threat.
Mary captivated the room with stories, tips and exercises to help everyone feel stronger, more confident and able to handle difficult situations they may encounter. Touchstone clients and staff were glad to have had the opportunity to meet Mary and learn about body language, using a strong voice and not being embarrassed to move or run if you feel strange about a situation. One client said “It was interesting, I am glad to know there are things I can do to avoid an attack.”
Martial Arts Principles for Personal Safety
Distance: If you don’t feel comfortable, stay outside of handshake distance.
Body Position: Can you easily take a deep breath where you are standing?
Feet apart – space between them both front-to-back and side-to-side
Knees unlocked – weight half on each leg
Align ears over shoulders, shoulders over hips and stand confidently
Voice: Sound strong whether yelling or talking by using your stomach muscles
Looking: Watch the area between the person’s forehead and shoulders instead of looking into their eyes
© Copyright 2011, Mary Brandl, used with permission
Mary Brandl is an instructor and consultant with Minneapolis Community Crime Prevention Program, University of Minnesota Physical Education Department, Hennepin County Sexual Violence Center, and a wide variety of groups and organizations. She has worked with various crime victim services for more than 30 years and has presented workshops throughout the state, nationally and in Canada. She is a 4th degree black belt with Midwest Karate Association and the co-author and co-creator of the book and DVD Scenarios in Self Defense.