Listen to Gail speaks with Samantha [Sam} Theobald, Damsel Pro, from Damsel in Defense as they discuss situations where safety may be an issue and the training, tools, and philosophy Sam uses with her costumers in order to empower and educate them about safety first. She is passionate about prevention and clear about promoting protection for you and your family.
You can find out more about Samantha and Damsel in Defense at:
Gail Kraft: Hello everybody, Gail Kraft here again with The Empowering Process Podcast, and with me today is a recent friend. Her name is Samantha Theobald, and I call her Sam, so you’ll have to listen to Sam. Samantha really has an interesting occupation. She is a professional for Damsel-On-distress [Defense]. Now, this is going to be aired after a few of my shame series and what I wanted to do is add one more flavor to that and the flavor is: Life does have its opportunities to be not as safe as you would like it to be.
I’m going to read a little poem or a little something for you, but Samantha’s occupation is to give you the tools and the techniques for being at least a little bit safer and a little bit more in control. We’re going to talk about situations. So, it’s not a sales situation; it really is ‘This is life, guys, for men and women.’ And of course, I’m going to be talking about women because I can only talk about myself. I can only talk about my perspective and, I’m sure, in fact, I know I have some men who are going to be joining us on their perspective of things but let me read a poem that was actually on Facebook today, and it was on Facebook. A friend of mine posted this and it’s a man and I was so moved that he did this. And the poem goes like this:
“Every woman you know has taken a longer route. Has doubled back on herself. Has pretended to dawdle by a shop window. Has held her keys in her hand. Has made a fake phone call. Has rounded a corner and run. Every woman you know has walked home scared. Every woman you know.”
And I will add to that. I commented on his Facebook page. There was a moment, and I’ve done this actually more than once, where I was threatened as far as road rage is concerned. This was in LA. Typical thing in LA, right? There was a huge truck that was following me, that was tailing me and when I realized it, I held up my phone. And no, I wasn’t taking a picture, but he didn’t know that. I just followed him with my phone and his passenger hit him, pointed and then they were gone. It was as simple as that, right. And I was prepared to turn it on once I had a view of his license plate if I had to actually turn it on. I’ve done that at least three times in order to feel safe.
And so, Samantha, thank you so much for joining me. Enough about me. Now, we want to talk about you and what you do, okay? So, let’s talk about– you know, you’ve got a whole bunch of tools and a whole bunch of techniques, but you and I have talked about self-defense. I’ve taken self-defense classes. What are some of the things that people typically have to look out for? These are not unusual situations that you know, you have been trained on, you have been counseled on, and you share with people, so share some of those with us please.
Samantha Theobald: Yes, absolutely. Well, thanks for having me today, Gail. It’s always a pleasure to talk to people about self-defense empowerment, about being responsible for themselves, and what they can do to avoid being a victim. Not unusual. I’m just going to correct you, It’s Damsel in Defense.
Gail: Oh, defense? [laughs]
Samantha: Yes, yes. Big, big difference from your typical damsel in distress. And you know what? That’s a mistake that everybody makes. I did that too the first time, and when I heard about, “No, no, it’s defense, not distress.” What? Puts your head on a swivel for sure and for good reasons. So, learning about this and, of course, as a woman I always again said, “You know what? I should take self-defense.” Not that I avoid going to cities or places that feel threatening or risky per se, but just that you know there are scary things out there, so you don’t want that to be a part of your life. You want to be ready in case of an emergency, right?
Samantha: Learning about that, I just was naturally drawn to it and it’s just an amazing way as a woman, as a mom, to help my daughter, to help other women in my family, and I don’t know, to feel good, to again, avoid being a victim. Nobody plans on this, right? Nobody plans on it. It’s like people say, “Oh, I’m too old. Nobody’s going to attack me.” I’ve heard it all. “Oh, nobody’s going to attack me. I’m always with my husband.” These are just not valid excuses. You’re trying to fool yourself into a false sense of security. And you know what? When bad things happen, bad things happen. It’s not like you can avoid it, but you can be prepared for it. And that’s the biggest difference.
Gail: Oh, you know it. You and I talked earlier about being prepared and I told you the story about one self-defense class that I took. You had to go through a routine, if you will, in order to be certified, and one of the first lines of defense is to scream. Run your ass off and scream because whoever does not want attention drawn that way. And of course, that was the first thing I went to do. And guess what guys? The first thing that happens to me when I get that frightened is my throat closes and I cannot scream.
Samantha: Oh, yeah.
Gail: Woah, right? And I’m like trying and trying and I couldn’t scream, so I had to defend myself.
Samantha: Yes, well, in any self-defense class and when I talk to people about when we do have an Empower Hour or Warrior Workshop, which I mean– think about that. Just the name of it sounds awesome. I feel like Super Woman for crying out loud. Right? This is the point; this is the point. It starts with that mindset. And think about it, when you are in any type of not even a threatening situation, but fearful situation. You’re in a car accident. There’s a fire alarm– goes off at your place of employment. There are four autonomic responses here. Freezing is one of them, and that’s exactly what you did. You thought you could scream but you couldn’t. Your body goes into that fight or flight. Essentially, that’s what it is– type of states. And you cannot freeze. You need to get your butt out of there for whatever reason. It’s a threat of some kind. We never know what that’s going to be, but again, if you train yourself to be ready to, you know– just like practicing anything for your craft, for your job, for whatever you want to do. Memorize it. Your body will remember, but you’ve got to practice.
I think people play that game with their kids all the time, ‘what if’ or ‘paying attention.’ It’s as simple as that. I spy something, this. It’s all about recognizing, like you going out to dinner with your kids like, hey, what color was the waitress’ shirt? What was the waitress’s name? How many windows are in the house? And could you escape if there was a fire?
Gail: Right. Do you know where the doorways are?
Gail: Right? That’s in case of an emergency, in case of a fire. One of the things that I became aware of quite young, thank goodness, is that as a woman, when you have that instinct across the street, you think, ‘Oh, don’t be ridiculous, no,’ right? If you have an instinct for anything, you do not have to justify it. That is my lesson and I want to share that. You do not ever have to justify yourself especially if you’re keeping yourself safe. If anyone says to you “why”, you just say, “Because I want to. Period.”
Samantha: Period and cross the [goshdarn] Street.
It’s listening to your gut instinct, all right? With our, say, I call it a hero’s power, our superheroes’ power hour– and that’s what I do with kids and their moms. Daycares, schools, things like that. But you feel like a superhero and superheroes listen to their gut. We call it a heart signal for the kids because it’s like whoa, kids can’t relate to a lot of these adults’ type of feelings and things like that. So again, no matter what age you are, you have that instinct. You don’t have to justify it; Just listen. Animals– and that’s what we are, basically, but as people we have judgment. And that, again, as a woman, we have more judgment than man [laughter] on a lot of levels. Let me just say it that way.
But we’re worried about, ‘What’s somebody going to think about me? Am I going to hurt their feelings?’ If some threat is coming up to you on the street saying, “Hey, give me five bucks.” You know what? I don’t care if he’s the nicest guy ever. You flip the b!t3h switch and you’re like, “Get the f*** away from me,” and go the other way. Exactly. You’re never going to see that guy again. It does not matter what they think of you, but you had an instinct, a gut feeling, a fear, whatever and it doesn’t matter. How many times– and we don’t know this– can you legit say, “I made that decision and it got me out of that situation”? Think about 9/11. How many people missed the bus to work? Did not go into the Trade Center? Did not get on that airplane? You will never know what these decisions or seemingly unnecessary things that happen to you will actually change your life.
Gail: Absolutely, absolutely.
Samantha: No, I don’t know why I took the elevator instead of the stairs, or I don’t know why you know, I asked my friend to join me or walk me from the curb to my car at the mall. I mean, I don’t know, but I did. And that’s all that matters.
Gail: That’s all that matters. I’ve taken more than one self-defense course and one, it was very, very interesting because they taught us the– like you were saying, if someone is coming towards you– and the exercise they had us do is the person behind me was supposed to be my child. I’m protecting the child, so you can’t grab the child and run. Right? So, what we had to do was literally as forcefully– and I’m going to have to flip a lot of folks out, in other words, and b!t3hfully, “go.” Right? And the gentleman who was my attacker really would not go until I got my entire body into it until I grew and became this monster to protect my child. And I had to actually put my mind in that mindset of pretending my children are like little and what is it that I would do. And again, unless there’s an emotional problem, most people who are coming after you don’t want that kind of recognition. They don’t want people. They don’t want that noise. They don’t want people staring at them. Right?
Samantha: Yes. Exactly. Exactly. I don’t care if you’re the nicest person in the world. Exactly. If you walk down the street, you’ve got to look people in the eye. If you have the resting b!th face, the RBF, even better, right? Even better. Like, what’s wrong with you? That’s just my take…[laughter]
But you know what? It can actually help you in a lot of circumstances. No, I am super friendly and I love people, but when I am out and about especially by yourself– again, if you’re in a crowd, you’re less likely again to be a victim, because there’s somebody else whether it is your mom, your sister, a guy, or you’re 6-foot-tall son, or nephew, right? You look less like a victim, so somebody’s not even going to see you and likewise, carrying any type of self-defense tool. And yes, keys in your fist– not a good idea. But if that’s all you got, that’s all you got, right?
Part of what I do is to equip, empower, and educate. It’s just like, “Well, I do that.” Okay, yes. What if you drop your keys? Then what happens? What if they take them away from you? Okay, exactly. “Oh, I don’t have a car key, just have a fob.” It doesn’t matter, put something else on your keychain. So just to get, again, in that type of mindset of being prepared. Nobody plans on anything happening to them, but just like when you were a Boy Scout or Girl Scout or what have you, that’s the motto, “be prepared.” There’re so many different scenarios that can happen and if you really, really think about it, you can actually hide under a rock for your life because that world is a scary place, right?
Gail: We don’t want to do that. We want to live our life and love it.
Samantha: I met a woman once. She was a realtor, and so as a realtor, of course, you put yourself in these threatening situations all the time where you’re in a houseful, a roomful of strangers, or one single male stranger in an area that you don’t know what have you. She and I were talking. She wanted to, number one, join my team, but number two host in Empower Hour. She had a friend who was so scared that literally every night she would prop a chair up under her door knob, so that nobody could get in– and stack pots and pans on this chair so that if anybody tried to get in, those will go flying. She’d wake up to grab her stick or whatever, her bat, and that person on the other side of the door would not try to get in her house.
It’s insane to me that you hear about that, or somebody who doesn’t prepare themselves. “Okay, I’ll leave my doors unlocked; Nothing’s going to happen to me.” Anybody can just walk in and take anything.
Gail: I live in a safe neighborhood, right?
Samantha: Exactly or I go, I’m going on vacation and it’s this nice resort town or I don’t leave my resort. Shit happens there too. I go for a walk on the beach and boom, nobody sees you again. None of those people who have been taken– nobody plans on these things, right? So again, if you’ve gone for that walk by yourself and you have a pepper spray or whatever and you’re looking those people in the eye who you see on that beach, most likely they keep walking. They’re looking for somebody who is going to be a target, who is a victim. When you’re prepared, that’s like a shield. They’re not going to see you. So, it totally changes your mindset, your persona to have that awareness– number one– and then to be prepared with tools, with skills, self-defense training, karate kickboxing, any number of things. You don’t have to be fully equipped like a police officer. They got nice tool belts; they got everything. But you know what? Elbows, knees, palm strikes– these are all good things too. Because again, if you drop those keys, now what do you got? I got a couple of wicked, awesome elbows, right?
Gail: The strongest part– the strongest thing that you can do. I didn’t know if I was going to mention this but I will. Again, before we started the podcast, I mentioned at the age of I think eight or nine– I just remember it was the fourth or fifth grade and a boy was following me. Now, I grew up in the tough neighborhood. I grew up in the streets, I say the streets of Boston in fact, and he wouldn’t leave me alone. I kept telling him to leave me alone to the point where he had my left hand up behind me and I fought. And I will tell you a couple of times in my life when this has happened, I literally– I know what it means to see red because– I don’t know where this came from, but I took a breath, and with my entire body and all my strength at eight or nine years old, I made a fist and I swung my entire strength and caught him. I know, in the face, he ended up with a broken nose. But he went flying, like the movies flying. Feet in the air, hands in the air, and landed on his butt. And I look at him and I said, “I told you to leave me alone.” I was walking my bike home, because I remembered then grabbing my bike and walking home. So, you just never know– ladies, gentlemen– because this happens to men as well for sure. When you say no, you mean no. That’s it– no. And if the first no is not acknowledged or honored, then you need to get out. Find your exit. Have an exit plan.
Samantha: Oh, yes. Oh yes, and so many people, again, don’t plan for that, don’t think that. “I trust this person; They would never hurt me.” But again, not to say that we should be on our defensive all the time and be looking for that, but just to say– all right, in my head, again, I’ve trained myself.
In that split second where shit happens, I can run, I can do this. It’s creating that reactionary gap. That’s what you did, Gail. You’ve distanced yourself with a punch from that person. So, that’s what you need to do. And that’s what legs are good for too, because your legs are super powerful. We’re women. We got that strength man, right? You create the reactionary gap so that you can grab your tools and again, “Stay the f*** away from me. I’m going to hurt you.”
Gail: And it’s having that-
Samantha: Verbal commands.
Gail: It’s having that expression. So, I wrote down a couple of times ‘vulnerable victim’. Some of the conversations I’ve had with folks lately have been about having that victim air about them, not even knowing that they did. So, they were constantly preyed on and in situations and mean one was in a trafficking ring. I mean, she almost got sold, man.
Samantha: The fact that she got out, was pretty amazing, right?
Gail: Yes, because she didn’t have boundaries, she didn’t know better, and you know that she couldn’t defend herself. But she did know to run like heck and get out of dodge. So, these defenses– you mentioned teach your children, so what can we do as observers, shall we say? We see that vulnerable person, especially a child, and we know that something is going on, but we can’t put our finger on it. Right? It’s not something that you would call the police on because you need proof. But trust our gut, especially as women, right? What are some of the things that we could do? Or what can we say to those vulnerable younger people?
Samantha: Yes, and you know what? Most of what I do is targeted, shall we say, at adults or people who can carry my products. Some of these tools, it’s illegal for children to carry, right? So again, we have to arm them with knowledge, with education. And again, it starts at home. Sometimes the threat is, again, a parent or somebody that is a trusted person in that child’s life. And again, this is where it gets so conflicting because as an observer, you know this child– something’s going on. The child isn’t acting right. They’ve said something that just makes you stop and think.
So, what we can do for a friend, a family member, no matter again what age they are is just ask questions first. I definitely would try to avoid being so incredibly direct like, “Is he hurting you? Is he touching you inappropriately?” You can’t just say that, because you know that person who could potentially be the victim will automatically throw up those defenses. Because if this is a trusted person, again, we don’t want to get that person in trouble, right? So, you’re trying to gather more information and let that person know, “Hey, if you need to talk about something, please trust me. I want to listen to you, and I will believe whatever it is that you tell me,” because some folks who are victimized, they’re gaslighted into to believing that, “nobody’s going to believe you if you tell them that I did X, Y, and Z.”
Gail: Or they think it’s normal.
Samantha: Or they think it’s normal. Exactly, so if you have a person that, again, you’ve got a gut feeling about they’re being mistreated– again, one of our SAFE Hearts books, I was mentioning that is about being a champion, about fortitude, and doing the right thing. This is hard for anybody, more so as a child to protect another child, because you’ve got your own stuff going on. You’re a kid, so what do you know? But again, we want to teach our kids to listen to their heart signal, their gut instinct ‘is it butterflies in their stomach?’, and tell somebody else, “I think something’s going on here.”
As a child helping another child, again, you want to try to get a trusted adult to help you with this. As an adult trying to help a younger person, let that child know that you are a trusted adult, you’re going to believe them, you’re going to listen to them, and you want to help them. That is where it all starts. It may not be appropriate to say, “Here, take my pepper, spray,” or “here’s a whistle,” or something like that. But again, that’s the first step– is to let them know that you are there to support them and help them because something is not right and you want to make sure that they are okay.
Gail: I do not remember– When my son was very, very young, he had a friend that you could tell by his demeanor that he was a troubled child– let’s just put it that way– and again, short of accusations, which you don’t want to go down that path. What we did do was have him over frequently and showed him what love and support in a family was all about, so that he felt safe and wanted to come and spend some time with my son and with us. Unfortunately, we ended up moving out of the area when he was like nine or 10, and I think that was really too bad. Really, really too bad. We tried to stay in touch, but we couldn’t stay connected with him. At the same time, I had a dog who he wouldn’t let certain people– like he would get between me and the doorway, even people I know. And if he got between me and the door way, they stayed outside. I go, “No, he’s okay. He won’t hurt you.” I’m like, “Okay, he knows something I don’t.”
Samantha: Well, that’s true. I mean, I mentioned that earlier that’s animal instincts. I’ll listen to it. We’re animals, but again we have judgment and sometimes it does not work in our favor. The dog knows. Exactly. The dog knows. End of story. That’s all I need, right? Good for you, because it doesn’t matter. The dog said not to let them in, so, don’t.
Gail: By the way, if you knew this dog, he’s the friendliest dog. And I mean, it’s like one big teddy bear. Right? I was taking adult education classes and woman who was working with me came over. We were going to work together and I went upstairs and the dog was fine. Went upstairs to get my papers or whatever, and I came down and the dog had her cornered. She couldn’t move. And she looked at me. I went, “Well, this is new,” [laughs] and I patted the dog, pushed him away, and then her and I left and did what we needed to do. It was okay for her to come in the house but not to be alone.
Gail Kraft: Yes.
Samantha: That’s so strange. Sometimes, I’d wish I could speak to animals and be like, “What is going on? Tell me something, because I don’t understand canine.” Right? But they do know and, I mean, animals are so much more intuitive, I think, than people. But again, it’s instinct. We ignore that. We’re domesticated so much and we’re babied– all this technology, all these conveniences. And the same thing with like a house pet versus a wild dog or coyote, or something. I mean, huge difference. They still have that instinct or specific breed. Again, they’re very aggressive. Oh, but guess what? That’s for a reason. But you know, exactly. As people, it’s very different, right?
Gail: If you have pets, pay attention to them and maybe feel what you’re feeling when they’re feeling that, right? And listen to the justification that you’re making, because that’s what happens. “Well, I’m with her in class all the time, I don’t understand.” Right? Well, that’s in class.
Samantha: Right. That’s not in your own home.
Gail: Right, and I will say that in one particular case. A neighbor came to the door and the dog did not want that neighbor in and I was thankful because I had the same instinct. Thankful that I have the dog [chuckles] between me and the doorway. So anyway, Samantha if people wanted to get in touch with you for more information on defense or the tools that you have to offer specifically, how would they do that?
Samantha: Yes. Well, I am online at its www.mydamselpro.net/samt. All my information is there. My phone number– I mean, I’ll give that out. It’s your podcast; It’s very trustful. It’s 603-391-6538 or email me. I’m also on Facebook: Samantha Theobald Independent Damsel Pro. So, all the resources are there. We have great videos that I share from my self-defense classes from our Damsel instructors. These are all trusted resources. We’ve got some great training that we’ve done. And again, when I do an Empower Hour or Warrior Workshop, whether it’s for you as an individual or your workplace, or your friends and family, it’s all about equipping, empowering, and educating. And whether it’s a $10 pepper spray or an $80 stun gun, as long as I’m putting something in your hand, I’m doing my job and I feel so good about that. Even if you don’t purchase anything, but a year later, you call me to say, “I’m ready,” this is exactly what needs to happen, so-
Gail: I have your pepper spray. [laughs]
Samantha: Exactly. You know what? And I’m ready to help you now. So, I helped you then with a little seed and that’s all it starts with, because somebody who is in that situation is not necessarily going to tell me that. But when I talk to them about this scenario or that scenario or how you can be safe, it gets the wheels started again. I don’t know this, but I’m telling you that I’m trying to help empower you and it’s got to get you thinking, so it’s just amazing how things– again things I don’t know, but I can change a life just by having you at the Empower Hour and that’s it.
Gail: And you don’t know.
Samantha: You really don’t know.Gail: Something like 9/11 which you mentioned is an obvious ‘Oh my goodness. I could have been in that Tower or in that airplane,’ but they were subtle things that you don’t know why you chose to do something versus something else which you normally wouldn’t do. I don’t know why you went down that path, but it’s your path and it’s fantastic. So, thank you very much Sam for your time.
Again, this is Gail Kraft from The Empowering Process Podcast. If this was awesome for you, please like it, please share it. If something came up for you because of this, please comment on it. Maybe we’ll do another session or a different session based on what your question is, and share it with a friend who you think might need to be a little empowered. Gail Kraft, bye bye.