Autrelle Holland demonstrates self-defense strategies on tv news

Autrelle Holland demonstrates women’s self-defense maneuvers for an upcoming seminar he will conduct. Autrelle has contributed a number of well-received articles to Aikido Journal as is based in Jacksonville, Florida.

Click here to view women’s self-defense demonstration


  1. Beautifully done Autrelle!

  2. Keith E. McInnis says:

    Great job Autrelle! The knife defense is particularly well thought out and demonstrated. Many personal defense classes teach flashy weapons take-aways when escape is the better option. Autrelle demonstrates a useable defense against an attack that by its nature is going to go very badly if the victim doesn’t act effectively. The very important point of a survival mindset is also gotten across. Also very well made point that the attacker is at the advantage both psychologically and physically.

    Drilling in the awareness, bearing and demeanor stuff and providing strong attacks that challenge the student to keep working the problem to escape is crucial. I’ve seen so many of these classes that are teaching people to beat down the attacker but place no emphasis on escape. It is important to ‘unhinge’ the attacker so they can’t chase you down. It is also important to use the burst of short term energy wisely…it is called the fight…FLIGHT effect.

  3. Thank you for the kind words. At our school, we make a strong distinction between fighting and self defense, and self preservation versus self perfection. So, we tend to pack a lot of energetic movements in our basics – energetic in as far as what would happen to an attacker if all they have are the basics. We don’t believe in the current way where years go by until you are able to protect yourself. We teach basic self defense right along with traditional arts, so that the student is getting the full circle: self preservation and self perfection – no fighting. We never contest.

  4. Yes and this is what many Aikidoka should have been learning in the first place.

  5. I find that in a want to perfect our technique, we lose the principle, and even worse, the goal. I know personally that I have spent many years trying to make various attacks fit into neat little boxes of irimi, tenkan, omote, ura, ikkyo, sankyo, shihonage, and so forth. That’s fine when you view Aikido as an exercise in problem solving using an academic curriculum. Those are, the basics, kihon. But the basics are supposed to illuminate the principle that creates the techniques, leading to takemusu aiki. Even still, all of that can be done and the whole point – self preservation under duress – can be missed. It’s hard to articulate these ideas in every class, but I think that as instructors we owe it to our students to show them the options that they have that are not strictly in the box.

    Aikido should look like Aikido in the dojo. In the street, it’s just your understanding and your survival that counts – not whether you made a clear omote or ura waza, or if this technique isn’t what O’Sensei practiced after the war, and so on. In an actual encounter, those things will never occur to you.

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