maybe I should be calling these chapters instead of installments, what say you, my loyal fans? lol
The next day the students returned, very excited and anticipating a fun time. But also nervous about donning the gear and sparring, as none of them had ever done that before. But Brad managed to calm them down and addressed them all before splitting them into the groups again. “Ok everyone, today is the day you get to use your moves on each other. I do not want anyone to throw full strength punches or kicks, our equipment is not THAT good, but I want you to Use the moves you have learned as much as possible. This is not a boxing match, this is a training session. Does everyone understand? Are there any questions?” The students just sat there looking at him, anxious to get started. “Alright then,” he said, clapping his hands together, “let’s split up and get start stretching” Amy, Jennie and Brad walked them through the stretches again, knowing that they would not have remembered everything. Then they had them practice the moves they had learned the night before. After about a half an hour, Brad took his group over and got them ‘suited up’. The other two groups were supposed to keep practicing, but once the first ones started sparring, THAT wasn’t going to happen, so Amy and Jennie gave in to the inevitable and had them sit around the mats and watch. After the girls got the hang of what they were doing, then things went very smoothly. Brad had them on the mats for about 20 minutes before he called a halt. “Alright ladies, let’s get that equipment off so that the next group can get in here”. The first group was laughing and talking up a storm as they removed the gloves and helmets, full of adrenaline and wonder at how great that had felt. This was repeated for the second and third groups. They were all excited, up beat and thrilled with these lessons and made sure to tell their instructors how they felt. After the last sparring session and everyone was sitting down doing the cool down exercises, Jennie took the floor and said “Is everyone happy with what you have learned in the last two days?” There was a general emphatic “Oh Yeah!” from 17 throats, and then everyone had to laugh. “Is there any one thing that stuck out for you? That you feel is the most important part of what you learned?” asked Amy. “Let’s start over here” pointing to one of the girls on the far side of the mat. “I think that the most important thing was that I now know I can defend myself. I might not be a great fighter like Ali, but I can do something to help myself now. I don’t think I could have done that before.” There was a general nod of agreement from the other students. “I think the confidence that I am feeling right now has to be super important.” Said the next woman “I know that I will walk a little straighter and be taken a bit more seriously by others now.” Asserted the next. It continued in this vein thru the rest of the student, with the last one saying “I think that the second most important thing that has happened here in the last two days is that we had a great time. You made learning all of this fun and entertaining. Not boring like phys ed” everyone laughed at that, “and we didn’t have to wear dorky outfits either” chimed in another.
“Do you think that we should continue to teach these classes to other women?” asked Brad. “Oh yeah” “Of Course” “I will send my friends if you do” “I think what you are doing is great, please don’t stop” were some of the comments that he picked out of the instant hubbub his question caused. He had to smile, they were so enthusiastic, he loved it.
Jennie and Amy were standing at the door, getting and giving hugs as the ladies were leaving. All of them left the dojo that day with a new sense of confidence and the sure knowledge that they would never be simply a victim. If they were ever in a situation that warranted it, they would and Could do something to help themselves. And, there would be more classes in the future. Their first class was a huge success and their ‘graduates’ would be their best advertisement for future classes.
After the last woman had left the three of them went into Brad’s office to go over the days class and to compare notes. They spent the next hour or so fine tuning the curriculum – adding and removing some things to make the class flow better the next time. When they were done with that, they called the other’s that had worked so hard to make this happen and the entire group met at the diner for a celebratory dinner.
“Alright, now, this might be a little difficult to start out, but if we take it slowly, we should be able to get somewhere.” Jon said as they sat down in Brads office the next night, this was several days after their first discussion about him becoming her counselor. Brad, Amy and Jon were about to get started with their first ‘session’ and Amy was so scared. Not just nervous, but down right scared. She had not talked about the things that had happened to her with anyone, not in any real detail. But she was determined to do this, so she took a deep breath and just started. “Jon, at our first class the other night I did something unplanned. I told the students that I had been raped. I have never used that term in relation to what happened to me before. As if the word made the deed real. But I wanted to impress upon them the gravity of learning to defend themselves and I knew that would do it.” Jon nodded for her to go on. “After I told them it was as if a huge weight had been lifted off my chest. I didn’t know that just by saying that to someone, saying it out loud, it could make it a little bit better. Now I’m glad I did. I don’t know exactly where to start with this though. What do I do now?”
Jon paused before he answered her, assessing, determining the best way for her to proceed. “I think that what we want to do first is for you to tell us about that day. What were you doing that morning, how did your day go, how did you meet up with the young man you were with. Those sorts of things.”
“Ok. Let’s start with the group of us going to the movies. Do you want details or just an outline?” she questioned him. “How about an outline to start and we can fill it out later?” he replied. “My day started with a friend calling and asking if I wanted to go to the movies with the gang. The group wasn’t like all best friends or anything, but we had gone out together before so we knew that we could have a good time together…”
Jon listened gravely as she related the events of that day and was very impressed with how hard Amy was trying to make this work.
“…and we all ended up at the beach playing volleyball for a while, then we swam for a bit because it was pretty hot and we were all sweaty. Bret and I wanted to get to know each other a little bit better so we started walking down the beach and talking. I guess we really were not paying enough attention to our surroundings because we never knew they were there until….” Amy faltered at this point. “It’s ok Amy” Jon said quietly “Just tell me what you can tonight, don’t push yourself too hard.” Brad had reached over and picked up her ice cold hand and was holding it in his as a show of support. Amy looked at him with a wan little smile that wrung his heart and said “I’m not sure how much of this you are going to want to hear Brad.” And he squeezed her hand before he answered her “I want to hear everything you need me to hear Amy, not a word more or a word less.” She didn’t know what to say to that, so she just remained silent.
This was turning out to be much harder for her to do then she had anticipated. She had known it would be hard, but now that she was trying to talk about the actual event she felt like she was trying to run in a nightmare, as if she had cement boots on and was attempting to run thru knee deep mud. But she had to admit, if only to herself, that now that she had started she knew she would be able to finish. She was also quite proud of Brad. He was being supportive with out being suffocating or cavalier, he was managing to strike a great balance, and she really appreciated that.
“Amy, do you want to continue this tonight? We have been at it for about 45 minutes and that’s about as long as a normal session would last.” Jon asked her. “We Have?” Amy exclaimed “It sure didn’t feel like only 45 minutes – it felt more like 45 hours!” The men smiled at her attempt to lighten the atmosphere, and Jon answered “I know this is super difficult Amy, and I know that it is exhausting to dredge up these things. I think that we should call this session an overwhelming success and make a date for the next one.”
Amy thought about his words, and decided that he was right, they needed to stop now, on a positive note, and come back to it after she was more rested. She nodded her head “Yes, Jon, I think we need to call this session a success and start fresh in a few days.” Brad agreed and they set up a meeting for three days later, same time, same place. They ended the meeting with hugs all around and Amy said “Jon, Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your willingness to help us this way. I know that while it is hard for me, it is just as difficult for you, and I appreciate your help.” “You are very welcome Amy” Jon said simply and giving her another quick hug turned and left the office.