Be Aware or BEWARE: Simple Self-Defense for Everyone

If you have ever been concerned about your personal safety, or worried about how you would protect yourself in an unsafe or threatening situation, this event is for you!

Rising Tide Business Networking Group is hosting group member Cheryl Ilov, aka The FemiNinja, on Thursday, October 10th from 11:30-1:00.  Cheryl will share valuable ninja secrets, tips, and tricks to help keep you safe, strong, and confident in a variety of different situations.

In this fun, informative, and interactive event, you will learn simple skills that can be applied to every aspect of your life, not just your physical safety. This will include how to:

  • Avoid being a target.
  • Train your awareness.
  • Get out of the way of an attack.
  • Stand your ground and find you voice.
  • What to do if you can’t get away.
  • Apply your new-found skills to your business, relationships, health, fitness, finances, etc. The possibilities are endless!

This will NOT include any martial arts or self-defense techniques involving physical contact with another individual. However, a few simple movement patterns will be introduced which you can play with at the event and practice at home. Or you can simply observe, learn, and take it all in. Knowledge is power, and together we can make the world a safer place!

 

BIO: Cheryl Ilov is a second-degree black belt in an ancient Japanese martial art called Ninpo Tai Jutsu, the Art of the Ninja. She began her training at the tender young age of forty-seven, and ten years later became her teacher’s first female black belt. In twenty years of teaching, no female had ever achieved such a high rank. Cheryl is also an award-winning author, speaker, and host of The FemiNinja Project podcast.

 

 

 

 

Episode #20 Betrayal of Trust and Test of Faith

Trust is a vital component of every relationship. Whether it is a personal relationship, business relationship, or relationship between a student and teacher, the relationship is built on a foundation of trust and mutual respect.

The betrayal of that trust is a devastating experience for the person on the receiving end. The entire foundation of that relationship is shaken to its core, and it requires an ultimate test of faith to not only recover from it, but to thrive in spite of it.

Download this episode to discover a few ninja secrets and learn how one lady ninja recovered from a devastating betrayal of trust, reset the bar in a relationship, regained her human dignity and her personal power. And learn how you can apply the same techniques in your relationships as well.

Episode 3: Simple Ninja Safety Tip

In my previous episode, Super Special Ninja Secret, I shared the nifty little trick of how to avoid an attack. However, you can’t get out of the way if you can’t see it coming. Which is how I ended up getting a glass of wine thrown in my face. It was a waste of good wine, but also a powerful reminder of what can happen when we let our guard down.

I am not talking about being paranoid. I am talking about paying attention to yourself, to your environment, and to other people around you. Looking back, there were very subtle signs that the situation was escalating. But, I simply thought I was having an animated conversation with someone I knew well and cared deeply about. I was wrong.

The truth is that we can’t always see when a hit is coming. But, we can certainly increase our chances of avoiding an attack by training our attention and awareness. Because a distracted person is an easy target, and a perpetrators dream come true. And it all starts with putting down your cell phone.

Your phone should NEVER be in your hand when you are in a public place. It belongs in your purse, pocket, or briefcase. Trust me. Not only is your cell phone the epitome of distraction, you will never know what hit you until it’s over. And you do not want that to happen. Putting your cell phone away is the first part of this simple ninja safety tip. The rest is in this episode.

Be aware, or beware!

Episode 2: Super Special Ninja Secret

One of the first things I learned as a brand new martial arts student was how to get out of the way of an attack. It’s actually a super sneaky and nifty little ninja secret that can help you in a multiple of different situations.

It’s the secret to the infamous “ninja disappearing act.” I’ll just bet you’re rolling your eyes right now, thinking that it’s just not possible for someone to disappear. Think again. It’s a surprisingly simple, easy, and effective technique which can keep you safe in a multitude of different situations.

As I said, it was one of the first things I learned as a brand new martial arts student, and I was really, really good at it. Because anytime one of the guys tried to attack me, I would run off of the mat, screaming like a banshee with my gi top over my head. Not exactly the Ninja stealth my Sensei was trying to teach me, but it worked.

However, once I stopped running, I learned a powerful lesson and a valuable skill that changed my life forever (in a good way), and it can change yours as well.

It might even keep you from getting wine thrown in your face. After all, life is full of hits, and it comes in a variety of different forms. Attacks can be physical, emotional, verbal, and even spiritual. If you simple get out of the way, you can’t get hurt. Or get wine in your face. I guarantee that this is a secret you’ll be happy to have under your belt.

However, if you can’t see it coming, you can’t get out of the way. But, I will save that little secret for the next episode. Stay tuned!

Episode 1: Welcome to The FemiNinja Project!

Exactly one year ago I entered a podcasting contest. At the time, I had no idea what a podcast was, or why I would possibly want one. I entered the contest anyway.

Eight anxiety-filled weeks later and overcoming multiple steep learning curves, the contest was over. I didn’t win, but I was invited to join the platform anyway. I am now flying solo, re-branding the show, and creating a community of like-minded women and men who are dedicated to restoring human dignity and helping people of all ages and walks of life unleash their personal power.

In this first episode, you’ll hear about how (and why) I began training in an ancient Japanese martial art called Ninpo Tai Jutsu, the Art of the Ninja. As a matter of fact, you’ll learn more about me than I ever wanted anyone to know. But, it’s time for me to share my story and stop hiding in the shadows.

I also will share many of the ninja secrets, tips, and tricks I learned in my training that you can apply in every single aspect of your life to keep you safe, strong, establish clear boundaries, and be healthy in body, mind, and spirit. And all without spending 14 years in a smelly dojo getting smacked around by a bunch of sweaty men. I took the hits so you wouldn’t have to. You’re welcome.

Never underestimate the strength and power you have deep inside of you. My mission is to help you unleash that power, Discover that it IS possible to look like a woman, act like a lady, move like a ninja and think like a warrior. And remember, men are always welcome on The FemiNinja Project. After all, I would not be here today if it were not for the many magnificent men in my life.

I am grateful to each and every one of them, and I am grateful to you for listening to the podcast, and starting your own journey into the Art of the Ninja. Sayonara!

The Invisible Black Belt

Have you ever done something that was so unexpected or out of character that you surprised everyone who knew you including yourself?

That’s exactly what Cheryl Ilov did when she began studying an ancient Japanese martial art called Ninpo Tai Jutsu, the Art of the Ninja and the tender young age of 47. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to walk into a male-dominated, testosterone-infested dojo and begin training. It also requires an incredible amount of trust. Cheryl had neither.

However, what happened next is truly remarkable as she embarked on a journey of a lifetime, becoming her teacher’s FIRST female black belt ten years later. In the 20 year history of the school, no woman had ever achieved such a high rank.

Hear more about Cheryl’s story and discover why she believes that there is a black belt in each and every one of us, and how YOU can unleash your personal power!

Sharing ninja secrets: Shhhhhh……

As a card carrying ninja, I sure know a lot of ninja secrets. I spent many long, hard hours of training for 14 years in a smelly martial arts dojo with a lot of sweaty men to learn these secrets. I also spent a tremendous amount of time, money, and effort along the way as well. But, every minute and every penny was well worth it and well spent.

It is my heartfelt desire to share some of these secrets with you without violating the code of the Super Secret Society of Ninjas, so here are just a few simple tips that will help you stand, walk, and move like a ninja to help keep you safe every time you step out into the world.

After all, our body language communicates to the world what kind of day we’re having, and even how we feel about ourselves. And people pay attention to it more than you think they do. It makes an immediate (and lasting) first impression. So, we want to make a great impression each and every time we meet someone. Whether it is at a party, a business event, a networking group, or a stranger on the street.

Especially a stranger on the street. Because we don’t want to look like an easy target if he happens to be one of the bad guys. Here are a few simple tips:

1). Stand up straight with your head up. Yes, this means putting your cell phone away.

2). Look people in the eye, including strangers. Especially strangers! No, it’s not rude.

3). Have your hands free at all times, just in case you need them to sweep a flying object or an unwanted and uninvited hand out of the way. Yes, it does happen.

4). Stand with your knees slightly relaxed and one foot slightly in front of the other, just in case you need to make a fast exit.

5). Speaking of exits, always know where the closest exits are every single time you enter a building or enclosed area. Exits aren’t just important in airplanes.

Most of all, stand, walk, and move with confidence. Because that is the way of the ninja!

There’s a Warrior in All of Us

I began my journey into the world of martial arts twelve years ago at the tender young age of 47. I guess this means I am admitting how old I am, even though I know that a lady never tells her age. However, no one has ever accused me of being a lady. Actually, someone once did a long time ago, but that’s a story for another day.

Anyway, it takes a tremendous amount of courage for a woman to walk into a testosterone-infested, male-dominated dojo and give strange men permission to attack them. It also requires an enormous amount of trust. I had neither, and there are still times when I have issues with both. However, what I lack in courage and trust, I have always been able to compensate with humor and false bravado.

When I began training, there wasn’t a high ranking female student at the dojo that could show me the ropes, be my role model, and teach me how to deal with a room full of Neanderthals. Even though all of the guys were very respectful and supportive, it didn’t keep me from being terrified and feeling like I was in a room full of Fred Flintstone and his bowling buddies.

They would take turns teaching me the secrets of the art of the Ninja, and there were even days when they actually argued over who would “get” to work with me. I thought they were just trying to impress me while they taught me the basic skills of a white belt. It didn’t take long for me to recognize that even on my worst day, I looked prettier and smelled better than any of the men they were used to rolling around with on the mat. Besides, I washed my gi after every class.

Since I didn’t have an upper ranking female student to emulate, I had to fend for myself and make up the rules as I went along. I told the guys that they were permitted to grab me, punch me, kick me, sweep me, throw me, and pin me to the ground. But under no circumstances were they allowed to mess up my make-up or chip my nail polish. After all, a girl’s got to set some boundaries, and that would just make me mad. Besides, it would be uncivilized.

Eventually, they got used to having me around the dojo, and I seemed to take on a role that was a combination of mascot, little sister, wise woman and awesome sex goddess. However, I still wasn’t in it for the long haul. I figured I would take a few classes, learn a few techniques and move on with my life.

But, something funny happened along the way. I fell in love with the art and I fell in love with the training. And I really, really fell in love with the sense of strength, grace, and confidence that I developed from training. With every milestone I achieved, there was another one waiting to be accomplished. Every time I felt I had reached my limit and wanted to quit, something kept drawing me back.

Every so often I have a test of faith, even at this point in my training. I’ll hear a voice in my head saying “Quit. Just quit.” But the truth is I can’t quit, and I won’t. Because martial arts isn’t just something I do; it’s something I am. So, I tell that little voice to shut up and mind its own business. It’s not that I have anything to prove, except for a point. And that point is, there is a Warrior in all of us.

 

Habits, constraints, and neuroplasticity….let the learning begin!

In my martial arts class, we often practice something called “randori”. One student stands in the center of the room while the other students form a circle around them and take turns randomly attacking the person in the middle. It’s kind of like the Ninja version of monkey in the middle. And it scares me to death. It is my least favorite training activity, but my incomparable stubborness won’t let me opt out. And besides, the guys would make fun of me if I refused to play with them.

Last week, after we completed our randori, just as I heaved a sigh of relief, Sensei said, “We’re going again.” He looked at me and said, “And you are not allowed to do the same techniques. I want you to find new ways to react to each attack.” My response to that constraint was not very mature or Ninja-like. I threw a hissy fit.  Apparently my little temper tantrum didn’t phase him. Either he is immune to them or I need to work on my hissy fit skills. Anyway, he wouldn’t budge. Sheesh, I thought I was stubborn!

Before we began, he had me stop, breathe and relax. Not an easy task when you are surrounded by men waiting to attack you. Against my better judgment, I listened to him. Then I took my place in the middle of the circle and let the games begin. The attacks started coming. And something very interesting happened. I felt new movement patterns come forth without even trying. My reactions were more thoughtful, meticulous and less effort. I discovered that I had a lot more techniques under my belt (so to speak) than I knew I had. I was calmer, my breathing was easier, my chest felt softer, my movements were more fluid. I felt myself responding in a visceral, organic way.

By giving me that one small constraint,  my Sensei gave me the opportunity to interrupt my habits explore new movement patterns, and discover new sensory patterns.  He did this in an environment that was safe, supportive and non-judgmental. What ever I did, it was not right or wrong, good or bad, just opportunities to learn. Hmmm….this sounds familiar. Why does this sound like  Feldenkrais? Because it is. The Feldenkrais Method(R) gives us the opportunity to learn new patterns of moving, sensing, thinking and feeling in an environment that is safe, supportive and non-judgmental. What Sensei did that day was absolutely brilliant! But let’s keep that to ourselves, shall we? We won’t tell him I said that. After all, if I encourage him, who knows what devious new methods he will use to help me learn and grow. Hmmm….on second thought, maybe I will tell him!

Ninjas at Play

That’s how the journey began….

Eight years ago I began my training as a martial artist. Full disclosure; I did it on a dare. I honestly thought I would take a few classes and then quit. After a month or two, I realized how much I enjoyed the classes. However, I wasn’t going to continue training. I had proved a point, and now I could quit at any time with my dignity intact. I didn’t know why, or how it happened, but I just kept showing up. As intimidated and terrified as I was, at least twice a week I found myself in the Dojo, wondering what I was doing there.

I knew I wasn’t going to stick with it, and I surely wasn’t ever going to test. I could certainly remain a white belt since I would be quitting soon, anyway. After three months of training, one of the guys badgered me into testing for my yellow belt. I didn’t want to do it, but sometimes all you have to do is say the wrong thing (or in this case, the right thing) to get my blood boiling and have my incomparable stubbornness come rearing up to the forefront. So, I tested for my yellow belt.

Three months later, the same guy taunted me to take the next level test. (Who was that masked man, anyway)? So, I tested. I knew I would probably be quitting soon, but at least I had two yellow belts to show for my efforts. And as proof to any one who may doubt me in the future when I told them about my six month long martial arts career.

In spite of myself and my cavalier attitude, I learned a lot in those six months. I finally learned how to tie my belt properly, even though that skill took a full six months to master. I learned the Dojo etiquette and proper manners. I learned how to suppress my giggles during the meditation and formal bowing in at the beginning of class. I learned that I didn’t have to be badgered into testing, and after my third test I realized that I didn’t have to cry after each test. Not that I would cry in the Dojo; I always waited until I was in the privacy of my own car. But, after that third test,  I discovered that it was far more rewarding to go to the mall and buy something pretty instead. However, the most valuable thing I learned was where the back door was just in case I ever wanted to make a fast exit in the middle of class. After all, I was going to quit soon, so why even wait until class was over? And that’s how my journey began….

Be healthy! Cheryl Ilov, PT, GCFP