Wednesday, September 12, 2012

RWA 2012: Dr. Debra Holland: Creating Fighting or Self-Defense Scenes by Jina Bacarr VIDEO

Have you ever wandered down a dark street late at night, your high heels clicking loudly on the cobblestones, when you hear a second pair of footsteps behind you?

Is someone following you?

Heart thudding in your chest, you stop.

He stops.

You pull up your collar, keep walking, then you hear—

Heavy breathing behind you.

Your pulse races…the hair on the back of your neck stands up.

He’s right behind you.

What do you do?

Run or fight?

If you haven’t experienced this scenario, I bet your heroine has.

That’s what happened to my heroine, FBI Special Agent Breezy Malone, in my Spice novel, Spies, Lies & Naked Thighs, when she was on assignment in Paris:

From my experience in the field, I know each fight is different and this enemy has his own agenda. Rape? Robbery? Could be, but I doubt it. They don't operate this way when they want a woman. They act friendly, use pretty talk to pick up a girl, then knock her off her feet before she knows what's happening to her.

I pull back, walk toward the rue de la Huchette, one step at a time, like all this is happening in slo-mo. As if the whole scene is a video game and someone else is at the controls, pressing the attack buttons and toggling my polygonal form to do what they want and I have no choice. Enemy contact. Kill'em. Kill'em. These words zap through my brain like a subliminal message from command center.

Keep going back. Left foot, right. My eyes scope out the environment. Stone buildings, windows shuttered. No escape. No one to hear the ruckus, the screams. The punks know that. They talk, egging each other on to see who'll make the first move. Closer, closer they come, like maggots ready to feast on a warm corpse.

Not mine, you punks.
I wrote from my first-hand experience when I constructed that scene. A similar incident had happened to me on that same street in Paris and I was lucky enough to get away. But I never forgot that fear pulsating through my veins. The icy chill that goes through you when you make that split decision that can determine whether or not you’re going to survive. Pulling up the emotions I felt that night helped me write the emotions of my heroine.

This scene went through my mind when I attended Dr. Debra Holland’s Workshop: Creating Fighting or Self-Defense Scenes at the RWA Anaheim 2012 Conference. Dr. Debra presented an outstanding workshop showing how to protect yourself as a woman and also how to put your heroine through her paces. She gave members from the audience the opportunity to experience what it feels like firsthand to be attacked by a stranger.

Here’s a video I put together from the workshop:

Wild Montana Sky (The Montana Sky Series)Dr. Debra Holland -- -- teaches a karate class at the American Martial Arts Academy located at1027 N. Harbor Blvd, Fullerton, CA 714 871-3898.

Check out their website for more information:

AMAA has been teaching Women’s Self-Defense Classes for more than thirty years.

 The gentlemen from the Academy who assisted Dr. Debra are: Steve Hopple and Adam Rigsby.

A special thank you to fellow OCC/RWA member Rob Preece for his assistance in presenting the workshop.


And thank you to Sarah Andre -- -- who volunteered to experience her heroine’s fight scene up close and personal.

I highly recommend Dr. Debra Holland’s workshop.

Thank you, Dr. Debra!



Wynter Daniels said...

Thanks for posting this, Jina. Wow - sounds like a scary night on the streets of Paris!

Jina Bacarr said...

It was, Wynter. I was with an Army buddy and we were hanging with some French students when I lagged behind to check out a cute pair of shoes in a shop window--three punks come up behind me and got "familiar." (I won't go into details,.) I did what I could to kick, punch, scream, etc. My friend and the French kids heard me and scared them off.

Dr. Debra gives some good info in the video for self-defense. Loved her workshop.

Casey Crow said...

Jina, Spies, Lies & Naked Thighs is a GREAT title!

Jina Bacarr said...

Thank you, Casey! Spies, Lies & Naked Thighs is a line in the story when the heroine, Breezy, is recruited by the FBI to join a special international unit of sex agents after they free her from a Syrian prison. Her new boss says, "Welcome to the world of spies, lies and naked thighs!" as they're racing across the desert in a jeep with the bad guys firing at them.

Naima Simone said...

Awesome post, Jina! I can't imagine your fear on that street in Paris. My heart dropped when I read the blog and your comment above to Wynter. That is so terrifying! I wish I could've taken the class with Debra Holland. It would have been extremely helpful both in my personal and professional lives.

P.S. - Your videos are the best!

Jina Bacarr said...

Thank you, Naima! Yes, that night was something you don't forget. It wasn't too late-- around 9 pm -- it was November; Paris was drizzly and cold and we'd been hanging out all day at the Louvre (my friend was interested in architecture and I'm a museum fanatic). It's amazing that I remember the details so vividly for something that was over rather quickly. But then again, that's why we're writers!

PS -- glad you enjoy the videos!