A father’s worst nightmare is his daughter being threatened or hurt in any way. (The second-worst nightmare is just a guy speaking to her). And while denial seems like a perfectly good option, the better one is getting her prepared for the often violent world.
You’ve seen dads that train their daughters to walk through the world with confidence and throw a punch like Ronda Rousey. But the secret to their swagger is giving them the ability to actually put a threat in its place.
That’s exactly what Jennifer Cassetta, founder of Stilettos and Self Defense, has been preaching — or, more appropriately, demonstrating with her 10-plus years of Korean martial arts skills.
“I was being taught how to be street-smart from my dad at an early age, and I’ve always valued that,” says Cassetta. “There’s this false sense of security in females — you think your dad will always take care of you and they never really learn how to defend themselves.”
Here’s how one badass woman is going to teach your daughter to defend like a girl.
1. Stop Paying Attention To The Phone, Start Paying Attention To Everything Else
Face it, your kid (and her attention to Snapchat) is her own worst enemy. Since there is still no known cure for cell phones, Cassetta stresses being aware as the biggest lesson in her teachings; usually, awareness can prevent anything from ever escalating.
“Nowadays young girls, teenagers — everyone really — are all connected to our phones. We have our earbuds in. We’re not paying attention,” she says. “Dads need to tell their kids it’s important get off your phone, look around, and be aware of your surroundings. Especially if you’re walking alone.”
2. Stare Down A Would-Be Problem
Making eye contact is important, be it in a salary negotiation or facing off with an attacker. (Or attacking your boss during a salary negotiation.) Cassatta says scaring the pants off of someone with your eyes like you’re Christopher Walken could keep anything from occurring.
“Your body language can really do a lot,” she says. “When you’re walking, have your shoulders back and head up, and always make eye contact. That confidence can often help people not approach you.”
3. Tell Them To Back The F—k Off
When you speak assertively you’re going to make the other person waiver. “If someone asks you to go with them somewhere, or approaches you in a threatening way, use a very loud and assertive tone, and tell them to back off.”
Remember that swear jar? Tell your kid they can bust it over that asshole’s head. “I recommend for young girls to curse or use bad language,” says Cassatta. “Most of these people are never expecting a young woman to be forceful and aggressive. It throws them off. So do it, use a harsh tone and tell somebody off.”
4. Stop. Drop. Then Get The Hell Out Of There.
It’s not getting low in a Lil’ Jon way, but it’s not far off. “If you’re actually grabbed, the first thing you want to do is sorta drop down,” says Cassatta. “It’s called basing out. Bend both legs and drop down — dropping your weight and center of gravity makes you heavier and harder for anyone to carry you away.”
5. Talk To Her About The Greatest Hits
Failing everything else, your daughter is going to have to go all Wolverine on that dude. A lot of self-defense experts (including the krav maga guys) back up the fact that anything you can do to hurt someone who is attacking you, you should do. Eye clawing ranks up there. So does pulling out earrings or bending fingers behind their hand. But the most effective spots to strike are eyes, throat, and yes, groin. Cassatta says that if you teach your kid to aim for those 3 spots, you’re going to deter the attacker long enough to get away and get help.