Cape Gazette

Adventures in Drool: Defending the homefront

By Rachel Swick Mavity | Sep 10, 2012
Source: images Arm yourself with knowledge and a plan.

Let's talk about self-defense.

Recently a woman in my neighborhood was attacked by an intruder. She fought him off and was able to escape. Even so, she was injured, and it got me thinking - what would I do if someone tried to break into my house.

Self-defense used to be something taught to kids who were being bullied on the playground. Remember how we all sided with the little guy in Karate Kid?

People have always been interested in trying to protect themselves and their home. Early westerners were armed against animals, as well as against robbers and bandits.

I must say I never really thought much about self-defense. I always try to protect myself by staying inside and locking the doors. But what if someone broke in?

I always thought if you just curled up in a ball, the intruder would go away. But, more and more lately I have heard that we should fight back.

Fight back? Really?

But, yes, it is recommended by law enforcement officials to fight back. They say to throw things like books, televisions and punches - anything available - in an effort to escape.

Sensei Ted Dabbs, head instructor and owner of Seaside Dojo Martial Arts school in Lewes, recently spoke to a MOMS Club about the importance of being fit and having the skills needed to fight off an attacker.

In an article published in the Cape Gazette, Dabbs said women-only classes offer women a chance to do fear-based scenario training without being intimidated by men. Women can learn to stand up to aggression, be aware of danger and escape violence when trouble finds them.

“Women need to be self-empowered and take a proactive responsibility in defending themselves,” Dabbs said. “They cannot always rely on men and on the police, because most of the time, they are not there when an attack happens.”

Dabbs teaches the ABCs of self-defense: awareness, boundaries and combat.

Many martial arts classes teach students to hit really hard, but also to appear calm on the surface and not let panic set in.

I now think that all women should have some self-defense training and I am looking forward to learning more.

Here are a few self-defense tips:

• Go for the vulnerable areas like the head, neck, eyes, and genitals. Use your feet and kick, kick, kick. Legs are harder to trap than arms. Use arms and elbows to punch at head and eyes. Attempt to hit your opponent in the face or neck as the neck is vulnerable and hard to defend and damage to the face can cause disorientation.

• Use what's around you. Use your shoes or purse if attacked on the street. Use items around your house if attacked at home.

• Have a plan. Know your home and have a plan of what you would do if someone broke in while you were home. Don't worry about possessions, focus on getting out alive. Think about who you would go to for help - passing motorists, a neighbor, etc.

• Lock it up. Don't encourage an intruder. Keep doors and windows locked. Keep cars locked. Close blinds or curtains so intruders can't see your television or other possessions that might lead to a burglary attempt.

• Honor your inner voice. If something feels or looks wrong, stay away. Prevent the attack if possible by removing yourself from the situation. Don't walk into trouble.

Seaside Dojo Martial Arts school is located at 34396 Tenley Court, Unit 3, Lewes. To learn more about women's self-defense or antibullying programs go to or email for consulting.


Self-defense skills can be learned at any age. Even if you don't take a class, try to spend some time thinking about how you would defend yourself and your family.

Have a great week droolers!





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