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Fight Like a Girl

Nida Spalding loves to read, travel, and spend time with family and friends. She believes that curiosity and persistence are key to happiness and success.

In her book, Fight Like a Girl . . . and Win, Lori Hartman Gervasi, a karate blackbelt and a former television journalist for ABC News and Channel 9 News in Los Angeles, tells women to decide to act on their instincts. Gervasi tells women that, "intuition is your guide When the warning bells go off, listen!"

Gavin de Becker, America's leading personal security expert and author of The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals that Protect Us from Violence, wholeheartedly agrees with Gervasi and urges us to listen to our intuition. "Whether it is learned the hard way, the truth remains that your safety is yours. It is not the responsibility of the police, the government, the apartment building manager or the security company." De Becker says, "True fear is a gift because it is a survival signal that sounds only in the presence of danger."

Years ago, I found myself in a situation and heard the warning bells that Gervasi and De Becker are talking about. On a warm, sunny afternoon, I had to deliver an important letter to a relative in Stockton, California.

She instructed me to meet her at a farm house where she was working that day. I found a farm house, parked my Toyota Celica, got out of the car, and walked towards a covered area where a bunch of guys were playing pool.

Halfway between my car and the farm house, I stopped and asked if my relative was there. One guy said, "No," but said I should come in, as he walked towards me. Motioning me towards the covered area, he told me again that I should come in. The way he said it sent chills to my spine.

Uh-oh, I am going to be dragged inside. I stopped. Trying not to show fear, I then walked backwards and sideways, keeping an eye on them. I felt my heart beating fast, my breath quickening, but my legs felt like jelly. My brain was telling me, "GET IN THE CAR!" I managed to get the key in the car door, get in the car and drive off. I found my relative at a farm house not too far from there.

Other techniques that Gervasi talks about in her book are "mad-dogging" your potential attacker and "verbal self-defense." I found myself having to use both techniques. One day, before cell phones, I went for my usual 10 a.m. walk near the Curtis Park neighborhood in Sacramento, close to the state office where I worked. Normally, I walked with a coworker but this time I went by myself.

It was nice out. While walking, I noticed a guy walking on the other side, at a distance, going in the opposite direction. He eyeballed me. I eyeballed him. Then, he crossed the street. Now he's walking directly towards me on the same sidewalk.

I crossed to the other side. But then he started to cross the street again to be on the same sidewalk as me. Then I got angry. I stopped, summoned my best mad-dog look, glared at him and said, "DON'T!" I was ready to scream and run but he walked away. According to Gervasi, running is a wonderful self-defense.

Gervasi tells women to make important decisions before the bad guy shows up. It is possible, according to Gervasi, that you've done all you could to keep yourself safe and you still end up in danger of being killed.

If that happens, she said, "You have no choice but to fight like a girl."

~ Nida Spalding
























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