About 5 minutes.  Space to move around and be loud.


Introduction to Concepts:

Have participants walk naturally around the room, filling in all the available space.  On the count of three, wherever they are, they will stop in fighting stance.  After the first time, offer feedback on stances, and ask if anyone held their breath.  Encourage participants, on the next round, to issue a vigorous exhalation as they stop in stance.  On the third round, encourage participants to yell as they stop in stance.

Ask the group why conscious breathing is important in a self defense context.

–       Not breathing, you’ll die …right?

–       Oxygen to the brain helps you think clearly

–       Airflow through the body increases calmness

–       Interrupts the freeze response


Using your voice is a very good way to make sure you’re breathing.  Ask the group for other good reasons to use your voice in a self defense context.

–       Communicate what you want

–       Startle and intimidate

–       Alert other people to the situation

–       Show you’re not a quiet, easy target

–       Negotiate

–       Get your adrenaline response moving


Discuss how to use your voice effectively.  Ask if someone in the room has voice or theater training and can share what they know.  Source the sound in the diaphragm, not the throat.  Demonstrate the difference by talking loudly from your throat (thin, weak, hard to sustain) and then from your diaphragm (strong, deep, resonant, easy to sustain).  Breathing should fuel your voice and be fueled by it.


We don’t believe you have to always be loud and yelling in order to do effective self defense.  But we do want everyone to know how to do this, and to have it handy as a usable tool.  For many of us, this takes practice!