The Ultimate Empowerment: Protecting Yourself

shanie rusth

I had the opportunity to get to know a Shanie Rusth, an MMA Athlete and mama of two, at a work event a few months back and not only is she a smart, funny, and beautiful she's also a bada$$.

She recently wrote a blog about 3 reasons why women should try Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and I wanted to share it with this community because so much of what she says personally rang true for me and I think is so good to be aware of and give it a try if you can.

Six months ago I started a Krav Maga class, that in general has been life changing, and on Fridays they have a special class for that group for ground work/BJJ.

In her blog here, Shanie talks about the feeling of empowerment and the incredible workout one of these classes can give you as well as a sense of euphoria and I experienced all of those in my very first BJJ class.

Shanie Rusth

My first class consisted of demos and then practicing the moves we just had learned with a partner. I am extremely uncoordinated so it didn't come easy for me and it definitely didn't look pretty, but never in my life had I been in some of those positions where you are pinned to the ground, so it was good just to get a sense of what that feels like in a controlled setting and start to learn what to do about it. The last part of class was a "just" two, 3-minute spars with your partner, intended to incorporate the moves we had just learned.

I do spinning and I run, so I thought I was in decent shape, especially cardio-wise, but Oh. My. Goodness. Less than a minute in and I thought my heart was going to pump out of my chest and I could barely breathe (probably because I was forgetting to breathe :)). I was literally fighting, something I've never done before, and it was way harder than the movies make it look, let me tell you.

I love having the peace of mind, knowing that I am a 130 lb female who is perfectly capable of submitting a 6’3” 225 lb man if he were to knock me to the ground and get on top of me.
— Shanie Rusth

I somehow made it through the 6 minutes, and I was beat - my arms were shot, I was sweating like crazy and was just trying to breathe somewhat normal again. Obviously I got my booty kicked, BUT I also felt amazing - I walked out of that class on Cloud 9. I think it was a mix of doing something new and getting out of my comfort zone as well as just feeling a little bit like a badass and super empowered because I now had at least some idea of what it felt like to be trapped and some know-how for getting out of it. There were at least options.

I will never be a professional or close to it, and I may not do it regularly, but my experience so far with this and Krav is something that does make me walk a little taller knowing there are some things I could do to help myself if I was ever in this type of situation in real-life.

shanie rusth

You might be feeling like you're not in shape enough or strong enough or have enough time, but even if you can just try a single class sometime I think you would benefit from it and it would just make you more aware of options you have to protect yourself and families if you ever had to.

Shanie is part of the UFC Gym team and they have a ton of locations all around the country, but if you're in the Louisville area where we don't have one, I would recommend checking out CORE Combat Sports - your first class is free and Rolando the owner is super nice and welcoming.

I hope none of us are ever in a real-life situation where we need to use this, but please do check out Shanie's blog below to find out more about BJJ and why she recommends it for women.


Have any of you ever taken any self-defense classes in the past? What was your experience?  Any advice for those of us who might be intimidated at first?