The group of nine women and girls stood in line, and, one by one, took turns striking Bob with their knees, elbows and palms. Bob, a life-sized rubber mannequin, bounced back, but the goal was for the women to hit hard enough that a real man wouldnt.
The women were taking an introductory class to a new program in Durango that revolves around self-defense designed specifically for women. The curriculum, called Fight Like a Girl, was developed by Coloradoan Kym Rock and now is taught nationwide.
Rocks message was so impressive the Womens Resource Center asked her to be the keynote speaker at its Girls to Women, Women to Girls conference last week. The annual conference brings together 350 eighth-grade girls from La Plata County to learn from peers and adult women in order to better transition into high school and beyond.
The Fight Like a Girl message fit perfectly with the conferences goals of promoting self-esteem, protection and positive body image, said Liz Mora, director of the Womens Resource Center.
Thanks to efforts by the local Girl Scouts, the Fight Like a Girl program is taught locally at Durango Kenpo Karate Studio. The local Girl Scouts of America group sponsored Kenpo studio owner Tim Smith to get certified to teach the program last year, and he started teaching regular classes in January.
The class in Durango emphasizes using womens strengths, such as their hips and their intelligence, and exploiting weaker parts of a mans body such as the nose, knees, eyes and solar plexus.
The idea is to work harder, not smarter, Smith said.
Rocks curriculum is practical, easy to master and efficient, he said.
Smith will teach a Fight Like A Girl seminar for the Girl Scouts in Cortez next month and is working on a Fight Like a Girl seminar at the Durango Recreation Center.