Today, we covered about 18 self-defense techniques in Kung Fu. Out of all of those, I remember two. I got discouraged afterwards, but then I remembered that I am still just a beginner and that Kung Fu is a highly complex martial art. For me to quit after one challenging lesson would be akin to a foreigner giving up on learning English because they were confused by the first page of "Hamlet." So I'm going to stick with it. At any rate, I made sure to practice the two techniques which I did remember three times from each side at home. One was "Penetrating Earth", a bear hug defense, and the other was a variation of "Escaping Sparrow", which defends against a double-handed wrist grab. I am sure that with intentional practice, I will master these and the other 16 techniques which we covered.
A more advanced student waited in a bear hug before practicing "Penetrating Earth" to make it more challenging. Sifu Chris, who led the class today, warned them that this was a mistake. When it comes to combat, you always want to escape from a hold as quickly as possible. In real life, if your assailant has you in some kind of hold, they aren't going to wait patiently until you whip out some amazing technique to show off to all of your friends. They are either going to:
A) Drag you away and stuff you into a vehicle so that they can do unimaginably wicked things to you at their leisure
B) Pick you up and slam/throw you to break as many of your bones as possible
C) Snap your limbs or your neck to cause serious injury and death, respectively
Your assailant doesn't have to be a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt to do these things. They can simply be an ex-high school wrestler or experienced street brawler. Not to mention the fact that they will have a serious size and strength advantage, since most assailants pick on people who are smaller and weaker than them. So to ensure that you make it home in one piece, take action as soon as you perceive a threat. Remember, when your life is on the line, time is of the essence!