The Strange Case of Instructor Jekyll and Teacher Hyde

The art of convincing people who have never taken any type of safety training that they need some sort of personal defense is a highly choreographed dance at best; one that has yet to be perfected.  Add the female gender into the mix (instructor or student) and it becomes even more complicated.  I feel like I’m walking a tightrope every day when I share a post, write a blog or post a video.  It can’t be too extreme or I’ll completely turn off the audience I’m trying to reach, but it can’t be too soft either, or I’ll lose credibility with the personal defense mainstreamers.  And don’t sit there reading this post and try to deny it.

The way I see it, my job is to cultivate the curious into taking their first personal defense class, and then help them understand the need for additional training, possibly in different arenas.  And if you’re one of the group, let me tell you how much my head hurts from banging it up against your brick wall.  I’m trying to be nice and offer training to you BEFORE something happens to you or a loved one, not after.  I just need you to work with me a little more.  And if you’re part of the population that doesn’t feel the need to get any personal defense training, do me a favor and stop following me on social media.  You’re only wasting your time, because most of the posts are going to be about the one thing you don’t want to see.  Furthermore, if you’re interested in learning but don’t want your social media friends to find out you actually care about your personal safety for fear they might find you a crazed kook, then send me a private message.  I’ll work with you one on one, no questions asked.  Your safety is my concern.

My credentials?  I don’t like to post them very much because it seems boastful and braggadocious.  But especially for the ones out there who think I’m just a female who probably couldn’t teach them anything anyway, I am one of a handful of females in the world who can proudly say they are a second generation Bruce Lee instructor under Richard Bustillo (one of Bruce Lee’s original students), I have fought a few times in Eskrima tournaments (locally) and once beat the reigning female European champion at the time.  I have trained with men for over twenty years, been beat up by them, had my cornea torn while boxing, and learned what being tough was all about thanks to them (you all know who you are; thanks).  I don’t back down to anyone or anything.  And I am just as tough as you, so don’t think for one minute I’m a cream puff just because I’m a female.  (Good.  Glad that’s out of the way).


I will be the first to admit that I’m newer in firearms training, but I’m certified to teach Ohio Concealed Handgun classes (and do teach them), and am a certified Defensive Firearms Coach through I.C.E. Training Company, teaching ‘Home Defense Handgun’ class designed by them.  My instruction is solid, but I’m constantly learning.  What I teach, I know very well; what I don’t, I don’t teach (I train personally on these concepts).

I’m not going to show up on social media looking like a ‘bad-ass’ and sharing memes that make sense only to the choir.  Some women have done that very thing, and then lose all credibility with the very faction with which they are trying to build a relationship.  What good does that do?  Sure they might get likes or followers from the established crowd, and that’s encouraging, but doesn’t accomplish the goal of helping people who need the help.

Wouldn’t we all want to have that diverse group of students that are perhaps a little apprehensive but willing to learn?  Of course we do.  Men and women have been trying to do this for years, but I think the key problem is they lose sight of whether or not their target audience can relate to them or not.  I can name a half a dozen women right now who started out in the right direction, then for one reason or another (perhaps they realized this is a tough audience to understand and don’t want to put in the necessary time it takes to cultivate trust among them) they go rogue and start talking the industry lingo and worrying about draw stroke times or other isolated concepts, which prohibits that particular audience from being able to relate to them.

So here’s my deal:

  • I’m going to do a little more straight talk, and less sugar-coated conversation about personal defense and why we all need SOME training.
  • I’m going to start pointing out my areas of expertise more, not for my ego, but so that people who are untrained realize they are getting quality answers and quality training from me and that I have the background to give them that training.
  • I’m going to start pointing out what makes me able to relate to this audience on a more personal level so that they understand I’m in the trenches right there with them.
  • I’m going to show them that you can be a ‘bad-ass’ and still have style and grace at the same time.

Sometimes being humble can be misconstrued as weak or inept.  I am neither.  I will remain humble in my training, instructing and life in general.  It’s who I am.  But the delivery of my message is about to change.  You can passively listen/read, get out of the way, or participate.    I would prefer the latter.

Stay Safe –



Add yours →

  1. Thank you! that is a wonderful insight! I am an instructor and I see so many other instructors trying to max out on tactical training and try to make others feel inadequate. I believe it is better to be down to earth and be yourself and relate to the people you are training on their level!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like youre on the right track. Good article. Ive been doing this for over 35 years, 29 as a cop and teaching since 97. A great instructor told me dont worry about the ones that dont show up or want training. Give your best to the ones in training and try to help those on the fence. Keep your eyes forward and on the purpose.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Julie, I enjoyed reading this, and I am interested in talking to you about contributing to Conflict Manager magazine that I co-edit with Jayne Wharf on behalf of the Conflict Research Group International. Regards, Garry Smith.
    Please check us out.


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