Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Is It Empowerment Self-Defense?


Is it Empowerment Self-Defense?
A checklist for assessing in what ways a self-defense program meets standards of an empowerment self-defense(ESD) program. In an ESD program, most elements of philosophy, pedagogy, and methodology fall in the ESD column.
Where there are gaps point to room for development.

Non-ESD Program
ESD Program
(the underlying thinking)

Attention to social context of violence
Little to no attention
High attention
Source of violence
Individual problems (e.g. bad people)
Social issues (e.g. social structure of privilege & oppression)
Targets of violence
Little to no attention to social characteristics; focus on individual behaviors
Attention to intersections of gender, intellectual and physical abilities, race, sexual orientation, social class.
Perpetrators of violence
“Bad” people different from others
Indistinguishable from others—focus on behavior not on appearance or social status
Framing violence
Physical violence
Continuum of violence
(the practice of teaching)

Students’ capabilities
Expose their weaknesses
Reveal their strengths
Hierarchical with the head instructor the most respected     
Respect for all and what each brings
# and ease of learning tools
Many and takes time to learn and retain
Few and accessible  
Types of tools
Physical fighting tools are the focus
A range of tools--awareness, assessment, verbal, physical tools, (breathing, escaping, fighting)
Application of tools
The instructor provides the mindset: “If this, then…”

Toolbox approach--defenders apply strategy, tools, principles based on their assessment of the situation.
Attention to trauma
Responsibility for violence
Risky behavior of target; morals and mental state of perpetrators
Perpetrator is responsible and focuses on those perceived as socially vulnerable and who likely will not be believed
(the means of developing a self-defense system)

Source of knowledge
Tradition, instructors’ experiences
Research and evidence, students’ experiences
Internal, closed, isolated from practitioners from other systems
Collaborative, open, networking
Making a name or a profit for oneself or system
Social justice and social change
Dealing with disagreement, conflict
Attacking, bullying, one-sided
Dialogue, Non-violent communication
Martha E. Thompson  

First published 2/26/18 in "Empowering ≠ Empowerment Self-Defense"
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