Lisa interviews her husband, Randy, a Jiu Jitsu instructor, to share insights on personal safety and awareness, and the importance of self defense
Lisa Arendell [00:00:46]:
Well, this is a fun little treat today because I get to bring an interview to you sitting on the floor in our bedroom. This is an interview with my husband, Brand, and right now, he is in the middle of building me a she shed. This is an area if you’ve been watching, I’ve talked a little bit about it on my podcast before, and if you’ve been watching me in my stories yeah, you may have heard that motorcycle behind us. If you’ve been watching in my stories, you’ve seen it built from the ground up. And he’s amazing. He is just loving on me through the shed. I’m so, so grateful for him. But as of right now, until my she shed is built, this is probably the best sound that there is in the house, is sitting on the floor around some material. So, there’s your visual for today. The reason I want to have Randy on is because he is a brown belt in Jiu Jitsu, and he actually teaches Jiu Jitsu and has for years at the school where he also takes. So, first of all, welcome, baby.
Randy Arendell [00:01:46]:
Howdy. Thanks for having me.
Lisa Arendell [00:01:48]:
Thanks for agreeing to be on this. Has actually been on the list for a while to have him come and talk about self-defense for women. And I’m going to go ahead and throw this out there right now before anybody asks if I take Jiu Jitsu. If you follow me, you know the answer is a great big fat no do. I think it’s a wonderful idea. I absolutely do. It’s just not something I’m interested in. But we’re not here to talk you into Jiu Jitsu. This is specifically about self-defense. So, Randy, I guess, first of all, tell everybody a little bit about why you chose Jujitsu for a martial art. And before you answer that, let me just back up and say martial arts has been in our family for a long time. All of us took Taekwondo many years ago, for many years. So that interest has been there and then backing up even further. It was kung fu that you took.
Randy Arendell [00:02:40]:
As a kid, as a young teenager.
Lisa Arendell [00:02:42]:
As a young teenager. So really, martial arts, to some degree, has been in and out of his life for a long time. And how long have you been taking Jiu Jitsu now?
Randy Arendell [00:02:51]:
Almost nine years.
Lisa Arendell [00:02:52]:
And how long have you been teaching?
Randy Arendell [00:02:55]:
Well, we had limited options for teachers in the early days of that school, so I’ve been teaching since I was a four-stripe white belt. So, seven years.
Lisa Arendell [00:03:03]:
Wow. And if you don’t know anything about Jiu jitsu, his next stripe is black, and it takes years to get there.
Randy Arendell [00:03:09]:
Like he said, five years from brown to black.
Lisa Arendell [00:03:11]:
Yeah, five years from brown to black. And you’ve had your brown two years now, right? Yeah. So it takes a hot minute. So, I just remember in Taekwondo, we ranked up pretty quick. It’s very different in jiu. Jitsu, so okay, now back to the question. Tell everybody why you chose jiu jitsu in the first place.
Randy Arendell [00:03:32]:
I think a lot of the guys at our school, I started out with the same reason for stopping by in the first place, and that was I had seen the UFC, I’d seen MMA, and among other things, they fight on the ground, and it was pretty impressive what they do on the ground. So, my first class, I showed up because I thought it would be cool. That was the reason that I showed up. After that first class, my reason was different. I realized how vulnerable I was because in that first class, I learned some things that I had never seen before and just how easy it was for somebody smaller than me to do whatever they want to me if they know what they’re doing.
Lisa Arendell [00:04:13]:
Yeah, that’s good. And I remember when he chose this as a martial art, him asking if I was interested, even if the kids were interested, and kind of none of us were.
Randy Arendell [00:04:24]:
No, Adeline was for a couple of weeks. But she preferred dance. It interfered with dance.
Lisa Arendell [00:04:30]:
That’s right. So, it’s really been fun to watch him not only progress through the ranks but become an early teacher. As for a white belt, which I’m sure he’ll be the first to tell you, he didn’t know a whole lot back then, white belts.
Randy Arendell [00:04:44]:
You knew the big gross motor movements, how to put 1ft in front of the other. This is more than a lot of people know when they show up on the first day.
Lisa Arendell [00:04:50]:
That’s right. But now, as a brown belt, he’s very respected, and you were before you were a brown belt, I remember you being a purple belt and people just talking about how amazing you are. So that’s just been really fun to watch him. But this is something we didn’t talk about beforehand, Randy, that I would like to cover. You have a lot of women come to your class and you said, and just come to jiujitsu in general, not even just where you teach, but all over. What are some of the reasons that some of maybe the most common reasons that women do come into jiujitsu?
Randy Arendell [00:05:27]:
I don’t know that I know the most common, but I can say from experience that while most guys are there because it’s cool or to work out or to lose weight or to get in shape, most women seem to be there because they have some kind of a past, a husband or a boyfriend that treated them really terribly, hurt them. And they feel scared and vulnerable and don’t want to feel that way anymore. So that’s what they start taking.
Lisa Arendell [00:05:53]:
Thank you. Yeah. The reason I wanted him to mention that is because maybe you’re listening to this and you’re thinking, that’s me, I’ve been treated poorly, and I’m actually really afraid. So again, this podcast isn’t about jiu jitsu. We are going to shift to self-defense in general. But I do want to give a plug as a non-Jiu jitsu person, but someone who is married to one and has seen the confidence in the women in his class who now they’re not afraid anymore. There is something about knowing you can defend yourself to that degree that’s really, really empowering. So, it’s just something to consider. Again, I wasn’t even really going to go there, but I felt that that was maybe somebody’s listening and their thinking, I feel vulnerable, and I need more than just a few self-defense moves. I need to know how to protect my life. Maybe you’re currently in a situation, let me encourage you to please seek help. Or maybe that is part of your past and it’s hard to move on from. So, okay, I thought that was worth mentioning. So let’s go ahead and shift to just give us some reasons. Obviously, probably everybody listening knows it’s a good idea to take self-defense, a self-defense class. Can you give us some specific reasons, though, why it’s and especially for women, that’s the majority of my audience, some specific reasons why we should consider taking a self-defense class.
Randy Arendell [00:07:20]:
Well, you need skills, right? A lot of people, a lot of guys with egos and a lot of women might say if somebody attacks me, I’ll just go off on them, I’ll claw them, I’ll rip some part of their body off or whatever. But that’s just not reality. So, anybody can do that. Anybody can go crazy, clawing, ripping, poking eyeballs at, anybody can do that. But what happens when that doesn’t work, or somebody is angry enough where you kick them between the legs, and it just makes them come after you harder? So, you must have some kind of a skill set. And Jiu Jitsu and a lot of other martial arts, other fighting styles will give you some skills to be able to add to the claws and to the knee, to the groin and stuff like that, that anybody can do. So that would be, one, just to have an actual skill set. Two is to have kind of a plan to know if somebody attacks you in a certain way, what you might do. It’s not good enough to say I’ll just go crazy on them. That’s not good enough. It’s not realistic to actually know, have an idea of what you might be able to do to survive. So that if you are in a weird situation or an uncomfortable environment and you’re just wondering about the environment or the people that are around you, you’re not lost. You have a feeling of if this person were to come at me, I’m going to do this and that might be running, that might be running toward another person, that might be yelling, or it might be you’re in a corner. You can’t and what you should do specifically. And so, it enables you to survive, gives you a chance at surviving. And with that, I would say, another reason to train. And you have to train at a school that understands self-defense. That’s realistic. It gives you an understanding of the reality of what happens on the street. It gives you the understanding of a guy that goes after a woman, is going after her for terrible purposes, and he’s going to grab her by the wrist and sling her to the ground and drag her to the van, grab her by the hair, jump on her when nobody’s around, and straddle her and try to do something terrible. And you need to be able to train in ways that speak to that reality, to accurately, appropriately prepare you for those real situations. And then you want to train to be able to test those things that you’re learning. Meaning it’s one thing to just drill moves without a lot of action with them, but in Jiujitsu and in some kinds of judo and some other types of art, you’re actually putting those things to the test. And so, in Jiujitsu, we spar. And you actually have two people that are friends, that love one another, that are brothers and sisters at the end of the day, but that are trying to actually forgive me, but to strangle each other and stop short of actually strangling to break each other’s arms but stop short of that. And it’s like a chess match, and you’re actually seeing if the stuff that your instructor teaches you and that you drill, if it actually works against an opposing opponent, so you train to be able to test those things. So, when you do get in a real environment, that’s going to be a lot crazier than in class, that’s going to have a lot more dynamics, but you were able to see if it works or it doesn’t work to know what you can do in a real situation.
Lisa Arendell [00:10:43]:
Okay, so let me see if I have this. So, you need self-defense to gain a skill. So, let’s say, Randy, people are listening today, and they’re like, I, number one, have no time to go take a class. I have no desire. Maybe I don’t have something terrible in my past, but I think it would be a really good idea to take a self-defense class. Like, self-defense classes come up often. You’ve taught self-defense classes. Is there anything in particular somebody needs to look for? This is, again, something we didn’t necessarily talk about beforehand, but something they need to look for in a self-defense class, a seminar that maybe someone puts on.
Randy Arendell [00:11:26]:
Yeah, I mean, you want to talk to people first to get opinions of others around that area, people that might know the instructor or the class or the school. But it has to be something, a place where they do actually test their skills, like I was just talking about, not to demean any other arts, like, I love a keto, but a keto, as beautiful as it is, they never spar. They literally never spar. So, it’s all theoretical. So, you have to go to a class that actually puts the stuff to the test every time they do it. So that would be one thing for sure. A school that actually focuses on self-defense. You can go to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu school, but they may be just all about tournament and that’s wonderful. But they may not address things like knife attacks, or somebody grabs your hair and yanks you to the ground or different things like that. So, you need to go to a school that actually does focus a lot on self-defense.
Lisa Arendell [00:12:23]:
Okay, that’s really good. So that’s valuable. So, keep that in mind because a self-defense class is accessible in many, most places. I would say, or I don’t know if I could say most places in the US. But there certainly are many I know around here. They pop up from time to time and so there’s lots of opportunity is the point. So, if you’re not interested whatsoever in going and taking a quote, whole martial art to go and take a self-defense class, just do some vetting. Make sure that they’re going to cover realistic situations and that you’re actually going to be able to use your skill set by the end of the class what you learned, because that’s just going to help you to flesh it out better. For it to be part of muscle memory, and truly to become part of muscle memory, it needs to be practiced often. I can’t tell you how many self-defense skills I learned in taekwondo many years ago, and because I haven’t practiced them, I don’t remember them. So that’s really key. Okay, that’s awesome, babe. Let’s go ahead and switch to let’s just be really practical. First of all, I wish you guys could see us right now. Again, sitting on the floor in our bedroom. I’m coloring my hair, so I have a shower cap. I’m naked, but he’s stinking cute. So, I really wish this was on video, but it’s not. So just trying to paint the picture for you. A little added entertainment. So, let’s go ahead and shift now, Randy, into somebody’s listening, they can’t see you. You can’t really show them any self-defense moves right now. Can you give us some tips on how, again, women in general can just help protect themselves when they’re out and about? Just what are some key things that we can put in our mind and maybe in our toolbox to be prepared for and things that we can do practically?
Randy Arendell [00:14:09]:
Yeah, well, don’t go to places that are unsafe and that’s subjective, but you know, you’re in a place that doesn’t feel safe. So be in a place if you’re out at night with a husband, boyfriend, or girlfriends, whatever. Be in a place that you know is safe, where there are other people around. And if it feels unsafe, it might actually be so. If it feels unsafe for any reason, your gut, you kind of know sometimes, then just get around other people. Get in a lighted area, get in the store or whatever. When you are, no matter where you are, this is the most important thing for the person who has the greatest fighting skill in the world or the person who has zero skills. It’s just being aware of what’s going on around you, being aware of people that are around you, interesting situations that are around you. And you cannot do that if you’re looking at your phone. You can’t walk through your parking lot looking at your phone, through it, through a parking garage, looking at your phone. Even if you’re with people or your husband that you trust, you need to not be looking at your phone. You need to have your head up and know what’s going on around you just to be alert. And you may get an uncomfortable feeling when you see somebody walking toward you that’s going to pass you. Trust that gut. That doesn’t mean treating that person like he’s a criminal, but just trusting that. Keep your head up on a swivel and be sure you’re walking toward a place that you know is safe, other people, whatever, but you have got to be aware. And I’d say another really important thing is to look strong and confident but be realistic as well. So, meaning you see somebody walking toward you, they’re going to be passing you. You get an uneasy feeling about them. Look at them, but in the same way that you would look at anybody else that you pass on the street. You’re looking at them and look them in the eye. You notice them. It’s not a cocky I see you look, I know what you’re up to look, because you don’t know. It’s just a look where if they have no intentions at all, no ill intentions, they just see a person looking at them. If they do have ill intentions, they see a person looking at them that knows who they are, what they look like, whatever. You don’t want to be overconfident or look overconfident. Look cocky like I was talking about a few minutes ago, thinking, I’ll just go off on this person if they do something to me, because that can go after a guy’s ego as well. You have to be realistic out there. So be normal, but confident and strong. Know that anything can happen in a street fight. If somebody does attack you, they could pull out a knife that you didn’t see that was there. You might kick them between the legs, and they still drag you to the ground and jump on you and pull you to the truck or whatever. So, you got to be realistic as you’re walking around out there. Look confident, look strong, look self-assured, but just don’t overdo it and be that unrealistic woman who thinks they can take on the world. And it all goes back to just being in a safe place and being aware of everybody that’s around you.
Lisa Arendell [00:17:23]:
That’s some great advice. I know you’ve told the kids that I have done that for years. Don’t look at your phone while you’re walking from the car to the store or wherever. Just try to when you’re walking, if you’re walking, I’m the worst. But I’ve gotten better. I have gotten better. Especially from the car to the store, I’ve gotten much better. And this is a complete aside, but it does tie in ladies’ strength training. It gives you it changes your posture. It literally changes your posture. My posture when I walked, I looked, and I’ve been strength training forever. So, it’s not just strength training, but its strength training the back muscles, the shoulder muscles. But then if you have that, if you’re strength training correctly, it literally puts you in the correct posture to where there is confidence and there is an assurance when you’re walking. Now you have got to get your head out of your phone and look up. So, like he just said, and I’ve never heard you say that that was really good advice. You don’t want to look overconfident. You’re not trying to poke the bear. You are just being aware. And what predators’ prey on is unaware women or women that are way too distracted to notice them or to take note of their appearance. I mean, that’s the perfect prey, right? And then you take a woman who’s just let’s forget about the phone. Let’s say you don’t have a phone in your hand, but you’re looking down, and maybe your shoulders are hunched forward a little bit. That’s a sign of lack of confidence. Well, now you’re easy prey. So, I just want to throw that little tidbit in there because I have noticed that looking people in the eye, and I smile. We’re in the south, we smile. Down here, we’re just a beat away from giving every stranger a hug. Not too far. But you look them in the eye, you smile, and you keep going, because I see you. But I’m just being polite because I’m just a nice Southern girl, right?
Randy Arendell [00:19:17]:
Lisa Arendell [00:19:19]:
This has been really good, Randy. One of the reasons I really wanted to cover this is there’s been more and more coming out lately about predators out there, about trafficking people, being caught unaware. Today I saw a video. It was just a whole PSA on baiting. I had never heard this before, but this is another new tactic that predators are using, where you will be in a parking lot in a car, and it’ll be a team, and they’ll kind of box you in. One will box you in with one car, the other will box you in with the other car. To where you can’t go forward or back. And their goal is to get you to, quote, run in your car once they do move, and then they follow you as a team to see where you go. And the whole gist of that was don’t leave the parking lot. First of all, make sure it’s a well-lit, well-populated place, and that’s where they usually do it, but then stay there and call for help. So that’s key. But it’s like every day there’s a new tactic coming out. So, I thought this was a great time to just go ahead and talk about self-defense throw out there. Hey, if martial arts are something you’re curious about, interested in, go vet a good school. Make sure that they’ve got just impeccable training behind them, especially if you’re just going for not especially, but if you are going for a self-defense class, make sure you talk to the instructor. Ask what they’re going to be doing. Ask what they’re going to be covering. Ask what you are going to physically be able to do by the time you leave class as well. Anything you want to add?
Randy Arendell [00:20:58]:
One more thing about that that I should have said earlier. Boxing is wonderful. I love it. Taekwondo and karate are wonderful. I love it. But you must know what to do if somebody grabs you. If somebody grabs you, then kicking them is irrelevant. Somebody throws you on the ground. Being a great boxer is irrelevant. You have to go to a place that teaches you how to fight back and survive. If somebody grabs a hold of you and throws you on the ground, that’s good.
Lisa Arendell [00:21:25]:
Thank you. Thank you so much.
Randy Arendell [00:21:27]:
Lisa Arendell [00:21:27]:
I love you.
Randy Arendell [00:21:28]:
Love you, too.
Lisa Arendell [00:21:29]:
I hope you found that helpful. Look, this could literally save somebody’s life, so please share this with your friends and share it on social media. This is definitely an important topic, and again, as just trafficking and baiting and all these other words are coming out and ratcheting up, now more than ever, we need to be aware, we need to be prepared, and we need to have each other’s backs as well. So, you have a plan as well, because you’re going to find yourself in a situation, and you need to know ahead of time what you’re going to do. And then you need to train in a realistic way that’s going to challenge you for the real world and give.
Randy Arendell [00:22:12]:
You get a sense of the truth of what goes on out there.
Lisa Arendell [00:22:15]:
Okay. Wow. That was so good.