Multimodality and Embodied Learning in Communities and Schools
Edited By Mira-Lisa Katz
4. The Communicative Body in Women’s Self-Defense Courses
The Communicative Body in Women’s
The classroom is1 a large space covered with blue mats and full-length mirrors along one side. In one corner are two strangely dressed figures. Both have bulky clothes on with special padding underneath. One is wearing a large padded helmet with holes cut out for the eyes and mouth, while the other has put his helmet down to the side on the mat. Along the opposite side of the room is a line of women—the students—in gym clothes. Another woman in the role of a coach leads the first student in the line out to one end of the room. She signals to the man in the helmet that they are ready, and the student jogs out onto the mat as the man steps out towards her in the opposite direction.
The woman is pretending to be a jogger out on the trails where she habitually runs, and she has requested that the helmeted man play the role of a person she passes on the path. As the two approach each other, the woman hesitates and starts to veer around the man. The helmeted man raises his hand casually, says “Hi” and continues to walk past. As the jogging woman pulls up at the other side of the room, the rest of the class laughs. The coach calls out, “That’s usually what’s going to happen!”
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