I witnessed a surreal incident recently that I feel I have to write about, if only to assure myself that it actually happened.
I am known for my vivid imagination, but I swear that this incident indeed took place.
Unfortunately, this happens to be the kind of story that needs telling in mother tongue for the audience to fully visualise and appreciate what transpired, but since I am not writing for my village mates, I will just have to tell it in English at the risk of losing the various nuances.
It was Friday at about 2pm. I was hurrying back to work since I had a looming deadline — unlike other people, my weekend doesn’t start on a Friday, in fact, I long forgot what an easy Friday looks like so when others are singing along to Nonini’s ‘Furahiday’, I am normally buried to my neck in work.
I was walking down the street headed to the heart of town when a group of about six youthful thugs came out of nowhere and suddenly pounced on a man who was several people ahead of me. I say about six because the incident happened so fast.
I am not sure how many people were involved. All I recall seeing was a flurry of flying hands making rapid chopping movements and a blur of flying mechanic legs, Jackie Chan style.
Within seconds, three of the thugs were on the floor writhing in pain while the others, having seen what awaited them if they pretended to be brave, took off as fast as their legs could carry them.
The thugs had tried to snatch a backpack that the man had been carrying only for him to immediately turn on them and serve them a lightening beating that had definitely caught them by surprise.
Like normally happens when there’s a commotion in town, people rushed to the scene, several asking no one in particular, “what just happened?”, and others whipped out their phones and started recording for social media.
There is also a group that decided that the thugs hadn’t got enough of a beating and started kicking them around. Hard.
I always give such situations a wide berth because crowds are unpredictable and also because they teem with opportunistic pick pockets.
But this was a special occasion, I had just witnessed Jackie Chan in action, and I wanted to get a good look at this action hero that had just repulsed six men, (I think) all by himself.
I was so impressed, I thought of offering him his own martial arts show, but then I remembered that I am not a film maker. This incident got me thinking about how ineffective many of us are in the face of danger.
Had that been me, I would have probably frozen in place and allowed them to rob me in peace, though to be honest, being a coward when it comes to such situations, I would probably have quickly handed them my bag to minimise any real or imagined damage on myself.
I am sure I am not alone, many of you, especially my fellow women, would be so frightened they would likely not even manage a squeal, leave alone a scream.
Perhaps it is time we started having a national conversation about introducing self-defence as a subject in our schools, this way, our children and generations to follow will grow up to become more confident adults capable of protecting themselves to some degree. As it is, many of us are at the mercy of criminals like the six I saw that day.
This article was first published in Daily Nation
1. Self defence teaches gentle solutions to bullying and rough play: a good self-defence programme teaches children gentle solutions, which emphasise the use of voice and non-violent ways to protect their personal space, for when they are being “attacked” . This means that they will grow up with non-violent conflict resolution skills.
2. Developing confidence: In a self-defence programme, children are constantly learning new skills, and each one is a little more challenging than the one before. Developing new skills leads to confidence and pride in one’s abilities.
3. Improvement in other areas of life: The skills gained in martial arts self-defense classes contribute to academic, social, and behavioral success. For example, as children train, they will know the importance of concentration and could use these new improvements to perform better in school.
4. Respect: Learning martial arts requires your child to show instructors and peers respect.
5. Teaches awareness of danger: Thanks to self-defence practices, children will learn to use their eyes and their ears to be aware of their situation. This is the most important aspect of self-defence for children. If they are aware of themselves and aware of things that could mean danger, they have the best chance of staying safe.
Compiled from www. latinamericanpost.com