Protective Mom – How to be a Strong Momma Bear

Protective Mom

Dear Momma Bear,

How sharp are your teeth?

When was the last time you sharpened your claws?

When was the last time you Roared?

Strange questions considering there are probably a finite amount of bear’s that have strong wifi connections out in the mountains and enough free time to answer my question.  But this is a serious question to all the “momma bear’s” out there. (this post can also be directed at the poppa bear’s as well)  This past weekend I participated in a 16 hour combatives course, hosted at  Crossfit 516 in Mineola, New York.   This course brought together a wide range of participants ranging from active military members, to Krav Maga practitioners to completely “green” weekend warriors.  Two of the people at this course were mothers.

You will hear me say this a lot but I find the most challenging aspect of teaching self protection is “How do you get people in the room?”  It shouldn’t be hard to find a Protective Mom who could use some self defense training.  It’s like the moving tide that you are always fighting against.  Spending countless hours discussing, offering and explaining the value of training to non-comitted types is an uphill battle but worth the effort.   Along with this being the most challenging aspect, I also find it to be the most interesting.  What is in that final internal dialogue before someone signs up for a class?  What is that magic phrase that finally takes that person emotionally through the decision making process?  In our industry, you can usually reference some sort of scary event that causes an uptick in our class size.   Whether it be a news channel reporting a home invasion, car jacking, sexual assault or worse…. when the media starts their feeding frenzy we get more requests for classes.

Razor Sharp Claws

During this seminar, I had a brief moment to ask one of the women what brought her out to the event?  Now I wish I had the foresight to set up a proper interview but I believe I can relay her answer with some accuracy.  She equated her attendance there to “…mama bears have to be protective and do what they have to do to protect their young and this course is teaching me how to do that.”  Again, I wish I could have captured her voice so you could hear the “Roar” of her statement.   I had somewhat expected to catch this protective mother off guard with my question but her answer was fast and sure; honest and sincere.  A women like this is just about the most dangerous and capable creature walking the planet because she is a women with razor sharp claws.

Protective Mom

Protective Mom Sharpening Her Claws

But why is she the minority when so many “momma bears” are all around us?  Although a lot of women would use the same reference when discussing their capacity to protect their children, many of these same women are assuming this maternal instinct will be all that is necessary.  Historically speaking, there are powerful instances when a mother was able to bring down an aggressor utilizing this frantic maternal energy but why chance it?  Why would you allow an assumption of your own ability be the cornerstone of your battle plan?  Your capacity for being a protective mom and defending your loved ones will be infinitely enhanced by getting hands on training.  The devil is in the details and nothing you read, watch or imagine will compare to actually doing it in real life.

A Dirty Little Secret

Do you want to know a dirty little secret?  I can’t think of one person I have ever come in contact with (in the industry) who wouldn’t give you as much help as you needed to get training.  Not a single one.  From the most basic martial arts school all the way up to a well oiled Gracie Affiliated gym, someone somewhere is willing to show you some basics.  This is where the wheel comes around.  As much as we like to sell out classes and be able to show the fruits of our labors, we have an emotional need to try to keep you safe.  It’s like this unspoken, shared motivation that a lot of us trainers feel when we know we could improve your safety.  But we need you to speak up.  We need to know who to talk to and who to approach.  It’s not something to meditate on and we are not mind readers.  Your cryptic Facebook posts might be the only “face” time we have with you and your vocal inflections might be a bit muted by the scrolling absurdity of our figurative and literal “walls.”

Protective Mom’s should sharpen their claws sometimes.  It should be a mission critical driving force to your being.  And I don’t mean THINKING about signing up for a 10 week self defense boot camp somewhere. (although that sounds like a fantastic time)  I am literally saying that you (yes you) should take a quick, hard look in the mirror and break down how you would defend your child in the parking lot of the mall this holiday season.  If you can’t visualize your actual mechanical response in detail then now is the time to scroll through your Facebook friend list for that one person you know that trains “UFC.” (By the way, they probably don’t actually “trane UFC” but it’s at least a reference point)

Reaching Out

There are thousands of schools operating all over the country filled with hundreds of thousands of people who are genuinely interested in self defense training.  These people WANT to speak to you.  They could be a friend of a friend or an old co-worker, neighbor, family member etc etc. Even if it is someone you don’t know, the moment you mention self defense training they will know exactly WHY you are talking to them.  People in the industry want a Protective Mom to be able to get the training they need.  Reach out for this person and use them as a reference point.  Are they a boxer, judo player, kick boxer ?  It doesn’t matter in the big scheme of things because they will at least be able to point you in some direction.

Please read this next paragraph slowly.

It’s NOT awkward for them.  It’s NOT weird for them.  It’s NOT a hindrance for them?  It will NOT cause them to post on Facebook that “so and so is silly because they want self defense training. Bla bla bla.”  They will get your Facebook message and then re-read it about three times to make sure they aren’t imagining that someone for a brief moment is actually asking them about self defense training. (We dream of that sort of thing)  It doesn’t happen enough but the times it has happened to me, I was immediately overcome with a sense of purpose that I could help someone.  It feels good to have that opportunity.

Is anything more important than protecting your kids?  This is the most basic function of any parent.  Protect your children.  You already have the inner strength, tenacity and maternal motivations for being able to get them home safe (and you as well) but you need some tools.  You need to sharpen those claws and learn how to bite back.   If any of this strikes a chord with you, please feel free to leave a comment.  If you want more help in putting together some dialogue for reaching out to people who train or if you want some help finding a school, please let me know.

Just remember that those most important to you are the ones that are worth fighting for so lets get you some training to teach you how to roar.

Stay safe out there.

Kenneth Egan


  • Great article! Training is a serious thing. Just doing it sometimes is better than never!

  • THANKS for stopping in a checking out one of our first articles. Ya know, like I said in the article, it’s tough to get people in the room. But every person who has ever taken a course generally has a really positive experience when they do it. And for people that teach, we get a great sense of value (personally) when someone feels good after taking at least one class. I hope where ever you live, you can find some place to stop in every now and again to sharpen up.

    Stay Safe


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