Fight Like a Girl... and Win: Defense Decisions for Women

( 4 )


It’s an unfortunate reality that women are susceptible to random acts of aggression, from sexual harassment and stalking to physical assaults, domestic violence, date rape and worse.  But women can learn how to protect and defend themselves—with this groundbreaking guidebook.  Let martial arts black belt and accomplished journalist Lori Hartman Gervasi walk you through easy-to-follow, everyday steps for taking charge of your personal safety, training your reflexes, and—if and when the time comes—using ...

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Fight Like a Girl...and Win: Defense Decisions for Women

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It’s an unfortunate reality that women are susceptible to random acts of aggression, from sexual harassment and stalking to physical assaults, domestic violence, date rape and worse.  But women can learn how to protect and defend themselves—with this groundbreaking guidebook.  Let martial arts black belt and accomplished journalist Lori Hartman Gervasi walk you through easy-to-follow, everyday steps for taking charge of your personal safety, training your reflexes, and—if and when the time comes—using force.  Her program consists of 26 potentially life-saving decisions that every woman must make, including:
DECIDE TO BELIEVE IN YOUR FIGHT – Battles are waged from the inside out.  Your conscience, intelligence, and guts must be committed to the cause.  You and those you love are the things worth fighting for. 
DECIDE TO DEVISE A STRATEGY – Create a one-way ticket out of every imaginable circumstance, from back-door escape routes to getaways in public places.  Think “what-if…?”, plan for the unexpected, and be ready for anything! 
DECIDE TO RECOGNIZE THE THREAT OF THE INITIAL ATTACK – When practicing awareness, you can detect danger before it happens.  The bad guy will take steps to get close to you.  Watch carefully and identify these for what they are—the preludes to an attack. 
DECIDE TO MOVE – If an attacker strikes, don’t freeze—get moving!  Break through your fear with instant mobility.  You have limitless options and any movement works as long as it leads to your safety. 
DECIDE TO ACT ON YOUR INSTINCTS – Your intuition is your guide, but you must respond physically in order to be successful.  When something isn’t right, take action, change plans, redirect yourself, and control your destiny! 
…along with Defense Do’s And Don’ts, inspiring “Power Points,” and other survival tactics that can help you to be prepared, stay strong, and
                                    FIGHT LIKE A GIRL…AND WIN

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This book stands strong against a continuous, 5-million year history of violence against women. Lori Gervasi tells you exactly how to choose safety over victimization."--Gavin de Becker, author of New York Times bestseller The Gift of Fear

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312357726
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 8/21/2007
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 697,165
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

LORI HARTMAN GERVASI is a black belt, trained in Traditional American Karate, a martial art style based on conventional methods such as Okinawan Shorin-Ryu and Japanese Shotokan.  She worked as a television journalist for ABC News and Channel 9 News in Los Angeles.  She lives in California.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The Fighter Within

Set Your Boundaries

Fortune favors the audacious.


I am a fighter. I have a fighting spirit. This realization came to me after I’d been a student of karate for quite some time, while applying the ideals, techniques, and disciplines of the martial arts to my life.

One day my father and I were visiting when he asked how my training was going.


“Well, you were always the fighter, weren’t you?” He smiled, acting as if that were a good thing.

We laughed together although I wasn’t sure which memory he was recalling. Was it when I leveled the biggest boy in the school after he’d been harassing me? The time I grabbed some punk by the collar of his shirt and slammed him against the railing of a dock because he’d spit on me? Or was it the incident during which I went after a man with a pair of scissors because he’d stolen fifty dollars from me?

Yes, I am a fighter.

And I have boundaries. My line of defense is a border around me, colored in deep black. Inside that line, it’s my rules. When someone tries to cross this line, it’s obvious: I see it, I feel it, and I’m well aware that it’s time to get busy. I’ll do anything to secure that line. I’ll move. I’ll get completely out of the situation. I’ll take off running if the need arises. I’ll shout. I’ll get everyone’s attention. I’ll immediately let him know that he’s stepping past a boundary line, that he’s off-limits, treading into sacred territory—my territory. Yes, I have boundaries. Nobody stalks me without my response. Nobody invades my personal space. Nobody touches me. Nobody persists or pushes me when I’ve dismissed them or said, “No, thank you.” Nobody makes off-color remarks or speaks in a way that makes me uncomfortable. If they try, I’m on the move and out of there. My boundaries keep me safe. Because I know exactly where they are, I have never doubted myself or hesitated when the moment has come to start swinging.

My inner fighter is often visually manifested. Others perceive it as confidence, discipline, boldness, or something weird or wacky that they can’t quite put their finger on. This fighting spirit has the potential to change the dynamics in a room filled with people. I’ve noticed that there are some who become uncomfortable around it while others bask in the glow.

Most of us would prefer not to think about the bad things in life, about anything sick or evil happening to us or to one of our children. We would rather not contemplate the thousands of monsters lurking in our world. But no matter what we choose to think, the truth is that predators are everywhere—they walk freely among us. Then, one day, it’s too late. A woman who never thought about threats or attacks discovers her mind has gone blank, her lungs are deprived of oxygen, and her body has stopped moving. Quite simply, she just doesn’t know what to do. She’s paralyzed.

Every day I allow the monsters to emerge from the back of my mind.

I see one who comes after me with fierce determination. Because I’m a woman, and smaller than him, he wants to prey on what he believes are my vulnerabilities. He wants to slap me silly, torture me, and kill me. He wants to drag me off into the brush and leave me for dead. He wants all of my possessions. He wants me to pay for his pathetic life, or for all the women who did him wrong, or for the love he never received at home. He wants to punish me for the sins of total strangers. He expects me to do penance for things I will never begin to know or understand about him. He doesn’t know me, but he intends to leave me maimed or so psychologically damaged that I will never reclaim myself or my life. My husband would be left with a basket case for a wife. My kids would never again recognize their mother. But the monster doesn’t care. He has urges. He needs a victim. He needs a woman, any woman. He doesn’t care who she is. But I do.

I’ve worked on the moment mentally and physically. When my girlfriends were hanging out and going out for dinner, I was moving in a sequence, thinking of this moment. When my family was watching television, I was visualizing this scene.

When the day arrives, my biggest advantage is that the monster is unaware that I’ve seen him coming for years.

Something is wrong. Someone has crossed that line—the one that defines my space. There is a quick movement, the softest sound, an inappropriate word, an overt action. Something doesn’t compute. Something doesn’t belong here in this fragment of my life right now. My head whips around. My eyes are open. My ears perk up. I’m all-seeing, all-knowing. I am breathing. I am a force. Immediately, I embrace the presence of adrenaline and fear. All at once, I feel a relentless desire to win, a deep love for life, the clear knowledge of my decisions, and the power of my abilities. These qualities are my greatest allies. I’ve already moved, and he’s only just advancing on me. I’ve already made noise. It is the guttural sound of a vicious dog. I block out his commands. I don’t listen or respond to monsters. I am in control. I am active and in the game. His superior strength fails to stop me—I don’t have time to stop. His weapon, his size, the attack itself, and the shock of it all: none of these gives the monster the control he so desperately wants. He is incapable of controlling anything, even his screwed-up life. That’s why he’s here in the first place.

I’m in control. And, thank God, I’m totally out of control. I’m completely nuts. And that’s exactly where I need to be in order to survive.

Everything I’ve ever learned comes to me in a brilliant flash. I recall the weapons I possess, body parts, and objects that are stashed on me and around me. There are several. They are perfectly wicked things, each one able to maim, or even kill, in a smooth, sweeping blow. I feel only my energy, the intensity of the goal, and the depth of strength necessary to win this battle. I consider the fighter within me. She is huge now. She is a massive explosion, the biggest thing I’ve ever known.

The truth of it is this: when it comes down to the monster who confronts me in the middle of this horrific moment, I am the more brutal animal.

I’m the monster now.

I am a fighter. Are you?

Copyright © 2007 by Lori Hartman Gervasi. All rights reserved.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     xv
Introduction     1
Get Your Guard Up
The Fighter Within: Set Your Boundaries     9
Give Yourself Permission     14
Know Your Enemy: The Statistics     19
Men Versus Women     30
The Big Fears     44
Degrees of Defense     52
Levels of Force     56
Decisions     70
Mental Decisions
Decide to Believe in Your Fight     77
Decide You Are Your Own Bodyguard     85
Decide It Can Happen to You     90
Decide Your Chances Are as Good as Anybody's     96
Decide You Make the Rules     102
Decide to Live Life in a State of Awareness     112
Decide to Master Verbal Self-defense     117
Decide to Devise a Strategy     124
Decide What Your Strengths and Weaknesses Are     136
Decide to Act on Your Instincts     142
Decide to Recognize the Threat of the Initial Attack     148
Decide to Face the Fallout     157
Physical Decisions
Decide to Get in Shape     165
Decide to Move     172
Decide to Look Like the Animals Do     181
Decide to Protect Your Space     187
Decide to Remain Active Versus Reactive     192
Decide to Get Up Close and Personal     203
Decide to Go "Nuts"     207
Decide to Get Horizontal     213
Decide to Use Props     218
Decide to Use Your Natural Weapons     227
Decide to Strike Targets     233
Decide to Finish the Fight     240
Decide What to Do About Guns and Knives     244
Decide Timing Is Everything     258
Conclusion: The Final Round     265
Resources     269
Additional Reading     275
Notes     277
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2014


    Im 10 and could use some tips

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2012

    Just OK

    It's ok. Hit home stories and examples. It could be used to help develop a mindset that most of us don't have. However, I felt it was lacking in a lot of substance. The book had fluff and could have been shorter.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2007

    Fight Like A Girl . . and Win

    This is a brilliant book - a must-have for any woman who wants to improve her ability to protect herself without becoming paranoid in the bargain. Logically structured and clearly written, Lori Gervasi offers all women - from age 9 to age 99 - effective tools and an empowering mindset to deal with any bad guy. I highly recommend this book to all women and the men in their lives.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2007

    Great book!

    Read the galley proof and it is one of the best books on this topic! Filled with great advice and intriguing stories, it is a great read!

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