One Thing Every Girl Needs to Know

{by Natalie Torbert}

There are a few things that I feel strongly about: some aspects of politics, my Redskins, and self-defense. Many of my soapbox speeches tend to revolve around the fact that I believe every girl needs to have some kind of basic self-defense training. Rocky Balboa puts it best when he says, “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place…”
The world has evolved past the Leave It To Beaver place that it was where six-year-old kids would ride their bikes to the soda shop. Now, not only are there a shortage of kid-friendly soda shops, but six year olds are used to holding hands with their parent just to cross the street. Back in the day, the “bad” parts of town were usually confined to one area. Now the “bad” parts of town are our streets, our parking garages, and even our malls. Every day we read of people getting taken. While I am not a nay-saying pessimist, I am a realist. I see that we live in a broken, dangerous world.
About three years ago, I decided that I was not going to be complacent with my personal safety. I didn’t want to become another statistic, rather I wanted to be able to intelligently defend myself if my personal wellbeing was ever in question. I knew that the odds of a 13 year old getting a concealed carry permit were slim, so I decided to learn self-defense. I took the plunge and joined an MMA gym, studying the discipline of Krav Maga, which is the self-defense system for the Israeli military. It is  is basically a melting pot of a large number of Martial Arts disciplines and is specially designed to be applicable to victims of unexpected attacks such as at an ATM, a car jacking, or in a parking lot..
Now, I was blessed with finding a gym that was not only reputable in the MMA training community with a high caliber of coaches, but was also a safe training environment for me both physically and spiritually. Most of my fellow trainees are former marines who are big and tough and they are rough with me because they want to make sure I will be able to escape an attack, should one ever occur. I understand that many of you who are reading this will not have such ready access to a “MMA” gym or would simply not consider entering one,  and that is fine. The scope of this article is self-defense; it is not “Every Girl Needs to Become a Pro Fighter”!

There are great options available to all of us.  Kickboxing classes at the YMCA and wrestling classes at the Gold’s Gym are just a start. L.A. Boxing franchises are popping up everywhere.  And if a live-gym is not for you, there are fabulous DVD’s to teach beginners to the most advanced athletes..   In Part 2 of this article, I will share some ideas on how to get started.  But before I do that, let me suggest you watch Miss Congeniality and begin practicing SING on your little brother.  (I’m only kidding about the brother part; a pillow will suffice!)
Sadly, the world has changed. Gone are the days of kids running around outside apart from the watching eye of a parent, and gone are the days of nearly guaranteed safety for teenage girls. Also gone is the luxury of complacency. As young women, we need to be able to intelligently defend ourselves if put in a circumstance that would require it. I am not advocating fighting or recklessly placing ourselves in danger, but I am advocating self defense training (whether basic or in depth) for girls everywhere. 

Natalie Torbert has been homeschooled (and loving it) since the fifth grade. She loves sports, almost to a fault, and maintains that the Redskins are going to win the Superbowl at least once in her lifetime.  Her favorite birthday present was tickets to see the Washing Capitals hockey team play (and win!) and her dream job is to be a color commentator for the UFC. She has trained MMA for the past 3 years and has an amateur record of three wins and one loss.