The group of nine women and girls stood in line, and, one by one, took turns striking Bob with their knees, elbows and palms. Bob, a life-sized rubber mannequin, bounced back, but the goal was for the women to hit hard enough that a real man wouldn’t.
The women were taking an introductory class to a new program in Durango that revolves around self-defense designed specifically for women. The curriculum, called “Fight Like a Girl,” was developed by Coloradoan Kym Rock and now is taught nationwide.
Rock’s message was so impressive the Women’s Resource Center asked her to be the keynote speaker at its Girls to Women, Women to Girls conference last week. The annual conference brings together 350 eighth-grade girls from La Plata County to learn from peers and adult women in order to better transition into high school and beyond.
The Fight Like a Girl message fit perfectly with the conference’s goals of promoting self-esteem, protection and positive body image, said Liz Mora, director of the Women’s Resource Center.
Thanks to efforts by the local Girl Scouts, the Fight Like a Girl program is taught locally at Durango Kenpo Karate Studio. The local Girl Scouts of America group sponsored Kenpo studio owner Tim Smith to get certified to teach the program last year, and he started teaching regular classes in January.
The class in Durango emphasizes using women’s strengths, such as their hips and their intelligence, and exploiting weaker parts of a man’s body such as the nose, knees, eyes and solar plexus.
The idea is to “work harder, not smarter,” Smith said.
Rock’s curriculum is practical, easy to master and efficient, he said.
Smith will teach a Fight Like A Girl seminar for the Girl Scouts in Cortez next month and is working on a Fight Like a Girl seminar at the Durango Recreation Center.