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First Class!Date: 12/11/2013

I was so looking forward to my first class at Save Our Sisters (SoS), and the day did not disappoint.

My first surprise was to see that four young ladies who were trained back in December 2012 were in the class. My next surprise was to see one young lady return who was a member of my very first class at SoS in April 2012 (she proudly showed my the black rubber bracelet stamped with ‘Fight Like a Girl' that I had given to her 18 months ago). My third surprise was that all five together have been assistants to Nilofar in the self defense classes for subsequent new girls.

The new girls were very shy (“Didi, they are scared,” I was told by the class veterans), but I was very pleased with how quickly they started to pick up the material. We congregated to the ground floor of the Save the Children complex where we warmed up with light jogging, high knee jogging, side shuffling, and partner push ups in 85 degree heat with 75% humidity. Within seconds, we were drenched, but the girls were very good sports and there was not a single complaint.

A note about the partner push ups: The concept of ‘partner' is lost on these girls who have never participated in a gym class, team sport, or any endeavor where they have to rely on someone else for their own success. I mention this because this is something in my own upbringing that I have heretofore taken for granted. I can't imagine NOT having done gym, recess, and playing some kind of sport. It melts my mind a bit to think of so many childhoods devoid of these simple pleasures. That said, it was no surprise that the ‘partner' push ups were a bit of a challenge.

Next we tackled punching, making a correct fist, and having them punch me in the stomach. It was too much for them; they mutinied and refused to punch me. After a brief verbal skirmish, Nilofar informed me that the girls thought they would hurt me, and they didn't want to do that. I responded by assuring them that I do enough sit ups (thank you, Jen Esp!) that my abs can withstand a good pounding. After Nilofar was convinced, she in turn convinced the girls, and the ‘good pounding' did indeed begin. This ability to hit a living human being comes naturally for a boy; girls, not so much, which is why I focus on making the girls do this in these classes.

Next we tackled mapping a girl's strong parts to the weak parts of a boy, and began learning hammerfist strike. And then almost as quickly as it had started, the class had come to an end. We wearily gathered in a circle, hammerfists in, and I snapped the above pic. Not a bad way to end the first day.

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