Do you often wonder what you’d do if someone ever tried to make a grab at you? I have. Maybe it’s an innate part about being small and runt-like, an insecurity I can’t shake, but I’ve been ambushed before and it is not a great feeling.

I remember it like it was yesterday. It was our first year at uni and the five of us (Beck, Jode, Trott and our then flatmate Laura) were walking out of the area on an evening out. We were living in a suitably dodgy area in Leeds, known for neighbourhood rowdy kids and drugs. Out of nowhere, about 13 kids ambushed us all ready to pounce. It was Beck’s insistence that we stayed calm and didn’t respond to their hissing and spitting that really saved us.

Alas, as we crossed the main road away from the mob, Laura turned to yell at them and got beat up in the process. One kid even rammed a bicycle at her. We were across the busy street and unable to help. Thank god the attack didn’t last long and they ran off when we ran back over.

But sometimes I wonder what would have happened had they stayed with her whilst we returned. Would I have held out and fought them off? I hated feeling helpless and violated. Laura was suitably traumatized even tho she escaped pretty much unharmed (very big girl, she was), but still…

So part of this quest in martial arts has to do with self-defense. Not that I plan to kick off in bars and brawl with people at all, but hey – why grapple with fate when you can learn the art on the mat?

I’ve tried BJJ and MMA since my last entry on Muay Thai. I must say I am leaning more towards the strike art, but there’s no denying that learning how to grapple and move away from danger would be a critical skill to have. Today, I learned how to escape and knock someone over if they tried to grab me front on – and I managed to knock Hubba over easily. I also learnt how to make a quick getaway between someone’s legs. Both great escape tactics for a small runt like me!

The only downside is grappling is a little unpredictable on the back. Thank goodness for the mats :P