This is why all women should train some kind of self-defence. It may not be Korean language related, but maybe it will inspire some of you to expand your Korean culture repertoire with Taekwondo or some other exciting and just slightly violent sport. Even if you don’t use it in ordinary life, it might give you a sense of calmness that shines through, which is why I have decided to share this otherwise somewhat personal story. Today I had a could-have-turned-nasty experience on my way to work.
I was almost by the train station when I realised two men in their late twenties loitering at the next corner that I had to pass. Something seemed… Off.
When I approached I could see them looking at me and talking, but not like you would regularly notice someone else in the street. They *looked* at me. I was listening to music, but quickly scanned the area – there was no-one else around. I crossed the pedestrian crossing, they stayed put while I passed them, I continued towards the train while staying aware of them and then realised one of them suddenly went towards me, walking quickly to to catch up with me. His friend stayed behind to look at us.
The platform was too far away for me to outrun him and I’d have to go through a tunnel. No routes of escape. Not an option. When he was just a few metres from me, the thought “this is it, my training will be put to the test, I’ll have to fight him” flashed through my mind. It seemed like a bad idea to keep my back turned at him given that I was pretty sure he would continue to approach me and possibly also take a swing at me, so I decided to face it straight on to at least be able to see what he was doing before he got to me. I took out my earphones, turned around to face him, and put on my best evil stare. I tried to look calm.
I’m not sure what happened next. Maybe it was the surprise that I did not even try to run and also looked downright murderous, but all of a sudden he got so busy turning around and fleeing that he almost tripped over his own feet before scurrying back to his corner. I walked away quickly, keeping an eye over my shoulder.
Did I at least get a good look at him? Somehow I cannot remember what he was wearing exactly or exactly what he looked like. What I do remember is thinking of my initial impression of him “app. 1.80 metres tall. 75 kg. Slightly delayed reaction time – probably due to alcohol. Bare hands”. I figured that with 5 years of jiu-jitsu and 1 year of judo I would have a decent chance of doing some real damage against an untrained and slightly tipsy guy while getting away fairly unscathed myself.
While I was nervous, it surprised me afterwards that I was not downright frightened. Actually, I was feeling rather annoyed more than anything. It was not until afterwards I thought about how unpleasant it really was.
Only after finishing work in the afternoon did I call my mother to tell her about it. Over dinner my parents got a more detailed account and figured it would be an idea to tell the police even if nothing happened to me. The police officer praised my instincts and told me I handled the situation well. If there (God forbid) should ever be another situation like it, I should call them straight away after getting into safety so they can send a patrol even if I don’t need help anymore.
While I would never stand a chance against a guy of that size with a martial arts background, against a regular bastard I actually thought I could win. That is probably why I managed to stay so calm and not break down in tears afterwards, going to work and have a normal day with my colleagues.
So, I guess the morale of this story is: if you ever thought of going to some self-defence class/taekwondo/judo/jiu-jitsu/other martial arts class, just go! The sooner the better. Yes it will be hard, often frustrating, mostly great fun, and a source of plenty of bruises. Hopefully you will never ever need to use it in the streets, but if you one day do get into a bad situation, you might not even have to use it.