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Local News

April 7, 2014

Learning how to (actually) defend myself


But that night, something from deep within me actually made me call out to this guy.

“WHO ARE YOU? STOP!” I blurted out in one monotone, angrily shouted sentence.

The man stopped in his tracks about eight feet in front of me. I didn’t know whether to scream, run back to my car or try to run the rest of the way to my house. He was quiet, then hiccuped a couple of times before speaking.

“Do you … do you have a buck?”

“No I don’t,” I half-yelled.

The man was obviously intoxicated and, after standing in silence for what seemed like an eternity, he turned around and stumbled down the street.

Not entirely grasping what had just happened, I hurried inside, locked all the doors and called the Oneonta police, who kindly and professionally reassured me and said they would be patrolling the area for the wanderer. I tried to relax, poured myself a glass of water and watched “West Side Story” in its entirety, for some reason. It took my mind off of things and transported me to a place where “rumbles” only happen in the context of a fiercely choreographed dance number, complete with high kicks and finger snaps.

I immediately thought of the worst possible scenarios that could have played out. Who knows what could have happened? I was extremely lucky that the stranger stopped in his tracks and didn’t come any closer because, other than my words, I had no real way to defend myself.

I decided to find someone who could help me learn some basic, useful self-defense moves. Sam Pollak, editor of The Daily Star, has a son, Joe Pollak, who just so happens to be a black belt in karate. He trained for more than 10 years at the Oneonta Karate Dojo, is now a CrossFit trainer at Cooperstown CrossFit and knows a thing or two about defending himself.

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