Sunday, April 21, 2013

Rapists Beware!

Earlier this week my kickboxing teacher Jeanene Gannon informed me that there was a women's self-defense seminar at her other gym, UFC on John's Street. It was taught by "Razor" Rob McCullough, who was at one time a world champion and travels the world coaching. He apparently specialized in teaching self-defense seminars to women as well as MMA. When Jeanene gave me the flier I thought about it. She mentioned she would be helping out. If anyone knows anything about me, I kickbox at least once a week and love my teacher to no end. I did it once and I was hooked.

I did karate as a kid but it was more or less my mom's idea and not mine. During that phase I was quite the grasshopper, waxing on and waxing off as I cleaned the Do Jang. In adulthood, however, I adore the martial arts practice and the grounding it gives me. I see how it goes hand and hand with some of the meditation I do. Either way, the whole thing was fascinating. Jeanene said Razor Rob was very good. I believed her.

Despite the fact it was on a Saturday and would be two hours I wanted to do it. Sure, I usually have a brunch with my girlfriends during that time but there would be other Saturdays. The only thing stopping me would be if I had to work. But in my mind I blocked off those two hours for myself. After talking to my mom, who's a fitness instructor, she encouraged me to do it. Plus if my mom were in the area and if she didnt have a broken wrist she would probably be there throwing down too.

I got to the gym Saturday and Jeanene was already there as were Morgan and Jenna, the A Team from our class up on our day off for extra credit. This gym was different than the one I normally go to. My gym is filled with people of all ages and you see grandmother types and mother types and sometimes kids. Not here. It was mostly guys who were all trained UFC fighters. The gym was also  mainly focused on MMA and cage fighting. Still fairly new, the place had that new car smell. There were boxing rings, mats, punching bags, and of course a nice locker room. Because the place was so new, the owner, Ramzey, was working the front desk. While he did this before I was born, my father did mostly everything when he started his own firm before getting partners and a secretary that wasn't my pregnant mother. (She at the time taught school during the day and worked for my dad by night). So when someone is working that hard I respect them. Heck, they all worked hard at this gym.

There was one cutie eyeing me up. He had some tats and stretchers in his ears. The cutie introduced himself as Alex. He joked that I was sizing him up and he was scared. Just to assuage his fears I told him that I would thumb wrestle him. Ramzey jokingly cautioned him not to attack first, because that was not how a true fighter conducted themselves. This was true. I remember in my course of martial arts study I was taught if you could walk away from a conflict, do it, because it is the coward that loses his temper. However if you are in danger, fight. While Alex joked that he was in danger Ramzey disagreed.

Note: Alex left as the seminar was taking place. Maybe he was truly afraid.

Before the start of the seminar, the girls and I joked that we would get a male dressed in pads to kick. However that would not be the case.

Enter Razor Rob.

Razor Rob McCullough was the teacher of the class. A one time World Champion and world renowned coach, he knew his stuff. Standing around five feet eight inches tall and having hair that was bestyled in a shark fin, he was tattooed from head to foot. While he joked about being travel size Razor Rob was a bad ass and could stuff you in a suitcase if you got out of line. Translated, this man knew his way around any cage or ring. Apparently he travels the world giving these seminars. So if push comes to shove he can strike to kill and teach you to do the same. I spoke to Razor Rob a few minutes before the class and he was very cool. I could tell this was going to be a good investment of my time already.

We asked if we were wrapping up to take the class. Razor Rob told us we were not wrapping up because in real life when attacked by a perpetrator, you would not have wraps on your hands. This was realistic which I liked already.

We began class with some conditioning. Razor Rob explained that conditioning was important, and how he had outlasted guys who were better than him in the ring because his conditioning was better. He told us that physical fitness was key when meeting with a potential perp on the street, and if you were out of shape they had the upper hand. I was always the karate student that liked the sparring but hated the basics and conditioning. Now I see their importance. My amends to Master Mignogna. In any event, Razor Rob was very knowledgeable as well as funny, which lead me to believe the class would fly by in two hours and that I would learn a lot.

I did.

When we were done conditioning, Razor Rob told us the importance that it would play later. We started by learning to block and use our elbows. Razor Rob told us the use of elbows were banned in the UFC, but they were the hardest part of the arm. If we wanted to inflict damage we would use our elbows. He made a joke that sometimes when he was in a nightclub with his wife and wanted people to get out of the way he used his elbows. Razor Rob also told us that when attacked by a guy go for the junk. That was a good way to cripple him. While I thought this was kind of funny coming from someone who had that sweet spot, this was also someone who cared about women which was good. Major points for Razor Rob.

Razor Rob also emphasized being grounded. He mentioned being attacked on the street was different than being attacked in the ring. On the street you might be attacked in heals and a skirt, not exactly gym gear. He went through several scenarios. One in which our wrist was grabbed, the other in which we were choked, and one in which we were being grabbed from behind. Each time it was break the grip, elbow to the face, knee to the stomach and run. That way you get them in the head and the stomach and therefore they are completely crippled. We also did one where someone was on top of us and we learned to shrimp out. And yes, there was one where we kicked the perp in the groin.

Like any good fighting instructor, Razor Rob told us that if we could avoid a conflict, to do it. The key was not to engage in a fight. However if you had to, now you had the tools to do so. And when blocking, always protect your head and never look down. Once you look down you give your opponent the upper hand and we can't have that. They must feel the most pain possible.

Oh and we also learned to fall safely if knocked down so we wouldnt break anything. And also, how to get up and keep fighting in case we had to take down a perp. Razor Rob told us that he hoped we wouldnt have to use this for real and it was all just fun. But unfortunately there was plenty of men who target women in this world because they believe we are smaller therefore we are weaker, therefore knowing how to defend yourself is key. Why should I be weak and defenseless when the bad people are not?

When class ended I was sad. I had been having such a good time becoming empowered. But when I stopped I realized how tired my body was. Translated, I did two hours of a good workout and didnt even notice myself wearing out. But I can hear Razor Rob saying, "More conditioning."

I left, thanked him, and gave the tattooed svengali of self-defense a hug. When I got home, in between my protein loading, I looked him up. He is very well known and has a hot wife that was once a Penthouse Pet. She is hot, but Razor Rob deserves a hot wife. They also have a three year old son. She is probably awesome, because it would be a requirement to be married to Razor Rob. And no one ever diss her or else Razor Rob will throw an elbow in their direction and I would imagine that would hurt. But he was a good teacher: knowledgeable, funny, and approachable. Perfect ten. Recommend him to anyone.

My kickboxing instructor Jeanene was assisting and she was awesome as well, perfect 10. If it werent for her class and not for her inviting me I would have never had the guts to do this in the first place.

Either way, Rapists Beware! You might have your ski mask but I have the teachings of Razor Rob McCullough. Die scum die!

I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
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