Self Defense

Learning to use the mind as a weapon is empowering. It is also, paradoxically, humbling. And power that is cooled by a sense of humility is a good thing,” said Myrna Y Boyer, the founder of the Women’s Personal Defense Center in El Paso.
Boyer was able to share with us her amazing story about how she survived and overcame an attack that almost took her life. When she was 36, Boyer encountered a male passerby in a hallway and immediately sensed danger. To refrain from being impolite, she decided to smile at the man, showing no hard feelings. After they passed he turned and hit her in the back, throwing her far down the hallway rendering her unconscious. Her spidey senses weren’t far off, but she ignored them. She woke up in a room with the man’s legs on her arms pinning her down, with his hands tight around her throat. Miraculously she was able to lung him off of her and escape, but so did he.
Almost twenty years later, Boyer has been able to focus her energy on helping women learn self defense mechanisms. Boyer believes self defense skills are important for girls and women with statistics stating how one out of every five women in America has been the victim of rape, or attempted rape according to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. Also, less than half domestic violence reports are reported to police, so something must be done. Females ages 12 to 24 are at the greatest risk for experiencing a rape or sexual assault finds the Department of Justice. With these grave facts sweeping the nation, Boyer gives free self defense lessons and workshops to women, and lectures around town. She has written on the power of the mind in the face of an assault and informed Latinitas on ways to stay safe.

Boyer also wrote the article, “The Mind as a Weapon: Gaining the Edge in personal Defense” as a guide to women on how to brace themselves in the face of an attack. First she describes personal safety. “Effective personal defense practices are 90 percent attitude and 10 percent technique,” she shared.

Boyer also urges an awareness of your surroundings to help form the correct attitude if any danger should occur. Once again, Boyer stresses how important your attitude is, even the attitude your body language can communicate. “Defense begins with prevention,” and the more you can communicate an awareness of your environment and those around you, the better you can become at taking preventative measures. “Often people unknowingly allow a potentially dangerous situation to escalate simply because they fail to spot the threat.” Boyer is describing the fact that an attacker can come in the form of anyone, that cute guy down the way, the weird one in the corner or some random person walking by, “safety demands that you understand the dynamics of an assault and an assailant.” Boyer also stresses how your intuition will more than likely come in handy in the face of an attack, “listening to your inner voice when a man is giving you the creeps is a good start.” In other words, when your spidey sense is acting up, listen to it, try to understand what it’s telling you. Get away, go somewhere overtly public. If you have a bad feeling inside, then you are more than likely sensing a surrounding danger.

There are a few helpful tips Boyer has left with us to keep in mind just in case you’re met with any kind of fear for your life.

1. Make yourself less accessible. If you can take cover take it, if you can run, run.
2. Never bargain with your attacker.
3. Use all weapons at your disposal.
4. Fight furiously and maintain forward pressure against your attacker.
5. Don’t stop fighting until you are safe.
6. Fight to get away, practice getting away.
7. If your assailant has a weapon, (if you are in grabbing distance) Defend, Disable, and Disarm, focus on what holds the weapon and attack it. (if you are further away) escape.

Boyer states, “techniques ride on mindset. As important as they are to learn and perfect, they are useless if you are paralyzed with fear.” She stresses the use of the mind as a weapon in any type of situation. The more control you can have over you mind in a tense or stressful situation, the better able you are to think, you’ll have a better ability to react quickly and make smarter moves. Regardless, there are preventative actions to be taken in a sticky situation, staying calm and understanding your surroundings with the right attitude are what Boyer lives by. So remember girls, the more alert you are, and the better attitude you can muster in any given situation, the greater the outcome. Latinitas greatly appreciated the time Myrna Boyer spent with us and we hope you can all learn a little something from her advice.

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