Home Invasion – A True Story

I am a fortyish, smallish (5’3”) professional woman living in Center City Philadelphia for the past 10 years. I had thought it might be fun to learn a martial art and learned that Aikido was one martial art that I could do without having my size or age put me at a disadvantage. So I joined Philadelphia Aikido.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
as told to Cecelia

They had a great reputation, a woman instructor, lots of classes on their schedule and, as I soon discovered, a wonderful community of members committed to excellence and sharing their knowledge.

I had only practiced for about 2 months – a virtual drop in the bucket in the world of martial arts – when my home was entered by a robber/rapist and would-be-murderer. It never occurred to me that my training could be of any help since I was still very much a beginner.

This man who came into my home was surprised to find me there and tried to choke me to death. I immediately felt the incredible power that he had over me. I was no match for his strength. As I felt the futility of my struggling, I heard the voice of my instructor saying, “Never pit your strength against that of an attacker.” I realized that in order to live I would have to twist out of his hold. It actually worked! I managed to get free for a little bit but I quickly became exhausted and eventually yielded to the inevitable rape.

Then he grabbed a pillow and tried to suffocate me. That didn’t work what with my resisting and wriggling out of it. He then spotted my car keys and asked where my car was. I told him to take the keys and the car and leave me alone. But he grabbed the keys with one hand and my wrist with the other. He began to drag me to the door. I still don’t know what he had in mind. As he dragged me toward the door, he got outside and tried to pull me out of the house. Somehow I broke his hold and slammed the door, locking it with him outside.

This was a dreadful experience. I am still suffering from post-traumatic-stress and working on my recovery. But, I am very clear about why I am alive today. Those haunting words from my Aikido instructor and the very first lesson I had showing how to break a wrist hold.