Kirsten: Hi, I'm Kirsten, and I'm here with Captain Steve Pearl. Captain Steve, what exactly is it that you do?
Steve Pearl: About 15 years ago, Kirsten, I started researching and teaching self‑defense for ladies. Ladies are at a more vulnerable place. They have less body mass. They can't fight. They don't scrap like boys. So they need to be able to protect themselves. So I came up with simple solutions, simple techniques that help them to develop a safer life and to be able to defend themselves when necessary.
Kirsten: OK. So I'm going off to college. I'm going to be living on my own. When I get out of the car, I don't want an air of fearfulness, like, "OK, I know that there's predators out here. What can I do? OK, that guy looks weird." I want more of confidence. I want to get out of my car and know that there are predators out there, but I don't want them to think that I'm a fearful little girl that knows what it is. I want them to know that I'm confident, I know they're there. And I want them to just see me and not think, "victim." I want them to see me and think, "OK, I'm not going to mess with her." Do you have tips, advice? How can I better do that, other than confidence?
Steve: Yes, I do, and that is a great question. Self‑defense, from the perspective that I teach, is a planned reaction. You can approach self‑defense two ways. You can go to a dojo three nights a week for the rest of your life and practice some sort of martial arts. Or what I teach is teach people what goes here is extremely important. And in that I use crisis rehearsal. This was actually started by a plastic surgeon in the first part of the 20th century. His name was Maxwell Maltz. He taught people how to change the way they view themselves through mental rehearsal. It's kind of like a dream. A dream is real to us. It's something we're imagining in our sleep, but it's real. He taught people, and most self‑help books go back to Maxwell Maltz.
Now, what I use crisis rehearsal for is, imagine these scenarios. You're going into the parking lot. You are accosted by someone coming to your car. What am I going to do? What is the thing that I'm going to do? How am I going to react? What you do is picture yourself in that situation and then you start to visualize the reactions that you would have. This becomes more effective as you add an emotion to that: love, hate, fear, anger, righteous indignation. You mix that with an often‑repeated message, it becomes an attitude.
We don't act on information. We react on attitudes. You put attitudes in your head, you will react to that. It's like when a bee lands on you, you do this. You don't process that and think, "Oh, I've got to slap this fly or this mosquito." You're reacting to an attitude.
That's what you want to do with self‑defense: develop attitudes. Think about it. Does that take a big part of your life? No. Two, three, four, five minutes a day to mentally rehearse. I do that in everything. I'm driving across a bridge, I think, "What if my car goes off the bridge? What am I going to do?" That's crisis rehearsal. When you do that enough times, you develop a perspective, an attitude, of "I am not a victim. If this happens, this is what I'm going to do."
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