This week we were lucky to have two volunteers from Italy accompany us to Casa Mantay to teach a class in self-defense. When trying to decide which school group would benefit most from this class, we thought that the young mothers at Mantay would be a perfect fit. These girls have undergone severe hardships in their short lives, and through the support and care provided by Casa Mantay, as well as the camaraderie and friendship they find in their peers, they come out the other side strong, independent, and self-assured young women and mothers. This class was a chance for them to build on their self-confidence, and obtain some skills for them to carry with them to feel secure in their ability to protect themselves and their children.
The class started out with basics such as maintaining balance and equilibrium. We all partnered up and practiced pushing back and forth on each other to get a feel for how to maximize our strength to keep our balance. From there, we moved on to how to throw a punch, and how to protect ourselves against being hit, and from there how to turn these defensive tactics to our advantage.
While all of the girls showed a lot of improvement throughout the class, we were particularly impressed by one. Despite being extremely pregnant, 5 foot-tall Dominga was the star of the class, throwing punches, putting the 6 foot male teachers in head locks, and even getting on the ground to practice escaping a situation where you are pinned down. All of this was interspersed by fits of laughter so intense that tears would start to form in her eyes.
The girls were so excited to learn this new set of skills and were all interested in continuing to acquire more knowledge of self-defense. We were so grateful for the opportunity to provide this class to the girls at Casa Mantay, and hope we are never on the receiving end of one of their punches.