Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My BRAVE Experience

I'm so fortunate to be able to join the very first workshop and launching of Brave Philippines last Feb. 22. Thanks to Ms. Kat Enerva for the exclusive invite plus the chance to bring along two of my friends. To know more about this program, please read my previous post here.

First of all, thanks to the instructions and map posted on their website. The three of us were able to find our way in going to the venue, coming from Manila. Here's an outside picture of the building where Studio M is located. Address is at 2/F V.G. Miranda Bldg., 9699 Pililla St., Brgy. Valenzuela, Makati.

The venue is at Studio M, rehearsal studio of the stars.

Upon entering, we were greeted by the organizers, gave us a hand-out and had us sign a waiver form before proceeding to the training area.

Intently reading what was written on the waiver form.

I chose to invite my two mommy buddies because I know we would need this kind of training to protect ourselves and our loved ones. We want to have the confidence and skill which we could use in times of danger. We were actually joking ourselves that after this training, "Lagot sa atin ang mga asawa natin mamaya pag-uwi." or "Kakaratihin natin ang lahat ng umaway satin!".

Excited for the self-defense workshop! Let's get it on!
Wearing blue is Mommy Edel, wearing black is Mommy G.

The session began with a self-introduction by SSgt. Joy Castillo, the female lead instructor followed by each of the attendees, then a brief orientation and run down of the course syllabus. 

Look at these attentive attendees.

Let me share with you some of the important points that are worth knowing.

Brave's Principles:
  • Never depend on other people for your protection
  • Always stay alert and aware of your surroundings
  • Always use counter-attack as defense
  • Basic defense is the most advanced defense (tapping and trapping)
  • Instinct is developed thru repetitive movements
  • Concentrate on the attackers weaknesses/lethal targets (eyes, bridge of nose, ears, Adam's apple, groin, knee, shin)

Tips to minimize the risk of being assaulted or harassed:
  • Put yourself in the potential offender's shoes (think what they're thinking)
  • Be always on the look-out, anyone could be a suspect
  • Always have a contingency plan (avoid if possible, keep emergency numbers, bring a weapon such as umbrella, bring a whistle) 

This is the two-page 1 Day Course Delivery Syllabus.

After the introduction, we did warm-up exercises and stretching to loosen up our tight muscles, lead by SSgt. Joy Castillo, our instructor and SSgt. Rudy Oliverio, her assistant/partner on this training course.

Stretching in action inside Studio M's rehearsal room. I can see my mirror reflection, hihi. :)

Then we moved on to the most exciting part, the actual drills. Watch this short video clip on how to counter a punch, in a snappy way.

And here's how hand tapping and arm tapping were executed, both of which are types of basic defense.

Types of Body Weapon/Striking Techniques against the Lethal Targets:
  • Finger jab - to attack the eyes
  • Palm heal strike - to attack the face or bridge of nose
  • Slap - to attack the ears
  • Back fist strike or hammer fist strike - to attack the bridge of nose
  • Elbow strike - to attack the face or neck
  • Groin kick
  • Shin/knee kick

Sergeant Castillo closely checked on each one of us to see if we were doing the drills correctly.

Me doing the finger jab, trying to hit the eyes of the attacker for distraction.

Then, we had a water break at around 11am and lunch at 12noon. Our lunch was considered a good one because I enjoyed the pizza from Pizza Hut, spaghetti and pichi-pichi from Amber. It was our most awaited part because we got so hungry after getting so physical.  

We had a yummy lunch!

After our lunch, we were so excited for the next topic which is how to counter when there's a knife involved.

Holding our dummy wooden knives

Use of arm tapping to counter a knife strike
After avoiding the knife with a hand-tap, palm-strike the bridge of nose to distract.
Let me show you a video clip on how to counter-attack when somebody grabs your arm.

And another video clip showing how to counter-attack when somebody tries to trap/harass you.

And finally, we were awarded a Certification for participating in Women's Self-Defense and Real-life Combat Workshop.

Units covered: knife defensive tactics, weapons disarming, counter-strike on attacks, take-downs, body weapon techniques, and unlocking. 

From left to right: SSgt. Rudy, me, SSgt. Castillo, Ms. Kat, Sir Cleo (SSgt. Castillo's son)
There were only eight of us who were so lucky to attend their first workshop.

Here's our group picture.

And before I end, let me recap to you my personal take-home learning:

  • The meaning of C.O.M.B.A.T. is Counter on Motion Before Attack Time
  • Remember to move closer to the opponent to give you a better chance to counter the attack (the attacker would be surprised to see that you are not afraid and most probably he will back off)
  • Preparedness lessen the chances of you getting into trouble 
  • Through practice and repetition will you be able to master the drills and eventually become your natural instinct. 
  • Keep in mind "Economy of Motion Principle" i.e. bring hands closer to your chest for easy reflex
  • Remember to aim for the eyes first to distract then followed immediately with a second attack on any of the lethal targets
  • If possible, avoid getting intro trouble by giving what the thief wants from you. Use self-defense only if your life is at stake and not at all cases.
For my personal comments on the workshop:
  • First of all, I hope the rate would be lower to encourage more participants to join, but on the other hand less is more
  • I prefer the workshop to be divided into few sessions to allow more recall and mastery, although I understand that it was a crash course made for busy women who can only allot one free day to learn 
According to Mommy Edel of Legal Mom Archives: "The workshop made me more aware of my surroundings. I learned that aside from the groin area, eyes and throat, the ears, nose bridge and even knees and shin are sensitive areas which are lethal targets of the attacker. I give this workshop a thumbs-up!"

These were just some of the techniques and scenarios taught to us. Attend and learn directly from SSgt. Mary Joy Sun-Castillo and be equipped with self-defense skills. To learn more about the instuctor, you may click here.

As this statement goes, "You have no excuse not to enroll for the next self-defense course you can as soon as possible because you never know when the worst might happen and you owe it to yourself to be prepared."

For more info on Brave Philippines, connect with them here:
Contact Number: (0927)659-9718 or (0936)330-3650

Congratulations to Brave Philippines for a successful launching of their very first workshop! We all had fun! More power!

Mommy Sally


  1. Congrats Sally! This is such a useful workshop for women like us, however I still hope that you are always safe. :)

  2. This is nice. Every woman should indeed learn how to defend herself from a harassing stranger. I need this too. :D

  3. Waaah, wish I made it. Good for you! Thanks for the videos, but I know I would have learned better if I was there. I narrowly escaped a hold up last December. Good thing I saw him ahead and was able to cross the road and ran. But I'm worried about when I have to walk with my 3 kids...

  4. Thanks for this wonderful review/experience post Sally! We're glad you enjoyed your training. We're gonna link this post to our official website at