It was on my Maiden Voyage in into the world (I was 19, 20) when traveling hippie style, student-rate (read: dirt poor!) around the Mideast and Central Asia where I first discovered that I had "it" in me - by that I mean a primal, fierce, no-holds-barred instinct for self preservation-- the will to attack back, to save my own pretty ass! Who knew? It just popped open like a seed under fire; born of the friction from being rubbed the wrong way.

This was in the mid 1970's- when striking back in self defense was barely a blip on the screen. Even in the US, fighting back was still a male prerogative - and perhaps expectation. Growing up "girl," my own warrior spirit was pruned back by fear, a litany of "don't" and by fear's encumbering offspring: internalized restraint. (In other words, we girls just "ate it" -- we ate lots of it.) I figured that if assaulted I would crumble. Fortunately I was wrong...

Mother India is where I had my most primal epiphany -- a story I will describe -- when I literally busted a guy's hand who repeatedly wouldn't take NO for an answer. (I slammed him about the face and neck too; man was he surprised!) Little bones crunched beneath the fury of my fist. He was strong, burly, and well dressed in a crisp white shirt. When I struck back, I watched him deflate like a balloon. A homerun grin peered through my fury. It wasn't that I enjoyed hurting him - well maybe just a little - but that I had issued his terror, and not the other way around. I learned: I could siphon power from violating hands. (And let me tell you there were many; for a long time these and other handprints remained invisibly inked on my body like DNA at the scene of a crime.) This experience is part of what first led me to martial arts.

Then, ten years later, a terrifying home-alone encounter with a would-be rapist in sunshiny, Boulder Colorado (few things are scarier that being woken from a deep sleep by the sound of creaking floorboards from the steps of a Man you do not know...) led me to more practical down- n-dirty methods that would become me, earning me my beloved trade name: Dr. Ruthless!

Posted 8th March 2007