Program teaches women defense skills

By By Michael McFall and By Michael McFall

By Michael McFall

More than 30 sorority members left the Aline Wilmot Skaggs Biology Building on Monday night with a new set of martial arts skills that can potentially help them disable a man in mere seconds.

Erin Weed, the 29-year-old founder and sole employee of Girls Fight Back, a self-defense lecture program for women, spent two hours teaching members of sororities how to defend themselves in the presence of an attacker. She showed the women how to hold up their arms, shout and, in case their assailant gets close, strike their assailant’s nose with their palm, draw him in for a lower-thigh strike to the groin, hit between his shoulder blades with their elbows and then kick him again in the face.

Weed said the point of her lecture was to simplify complicated martial art moves so they become “muscle memory,” which allows the body to access the information without the lag time of thinking, she said. She stressed the importance of being safe, as opposed to feeling safe, a mistake a lot of women make, she said.

Brittany Anderson, a junior human development major and member of Chi Omega, suggested that Weed come to the U after seeing her program in San Diego.

“I think she’s really inspirational,” said Anderson, who later said she felt Weed’s self-defense lessons were easy to remember.

She was inspired to create the Girls Fight Back program after her friend Shannon McNamara was murdered six years ago.

At a bonfire following McNamara’s death, Weed was surprised to hear how many women around the bonfire were frightened to be left alone in a house or walk from their office to their car at the end of the day, in fear of someone attacking them.

Weed dedicated herself to the art of self-defense, studying under former NYPD, FBI and CIA officers. She travels all over the country to instruct women how to prevent an assault and how to defend themselves.

Her lecture program has been heard by more than 200,000 attendees nationwide.

During the lecture, Weed also showed the women how to act on their intuition and how to be a “bad victim.”

“Bad victims,” Weed said, are confident.

In order to gain confidence, She advised women to make eye contact with suspicious men, be aware of their surroundings and make sure to not give away too much personal information on their online profiles.

The U was Weed’s fourth stop in her Fall 2007 tour.

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