Women don’t need to find a voice. They have a voice. They need to feel empowered to use it, and people need to be encouraged to listen.”
~ Meghan Markle
Late one night after a workout, a self-defense instructor we’ll call Emily, was walking out of her local gym when she was approached by a man who asked her, “Hey, wanna fight?”
Clearly, the man had been watching her practice.
She turned to him and said, with a confident, assertive voice, “You don’t want to do that.” And then she told him back off.
The man left immediately, and after she reported him, he was no longer allowed at the gym.
Emily uses this story as a way of showing her students why their voices are one of the most valuable resources in their self-defense toolkits.
There are countless reasons ESD practitioners advocate the use of voice, but here are our top five:
Your voice can and will:
1. Startle An Attacker
Using a loud, assertive voice will likely startle an assailant and catch him off guard. Even if he doesn’t run away, his startle response will hopefully give you one or two seconds (which is actually longer than it sounds) to make crucial decisions.
2. Draw Attention to Dangerous Situations
Your voice has the power to draw attention to dangerous situations. Attention is likely to deter an attacker, but will give the people around you the chance to come to your aid.
3. Help You Breathe
When we’re faced with dangerous situations, it’s easy to forget to breathe. Not breathing can make us disoriented, forgetful and dizzy. But using our voices automatically keeps us breathing.
Breathing calms us down, keeps us focused and in the moment, gives us oxygen, and engages our core muscles.
All of those things give us strength.