What martial arts has taught me about staying in the game

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Photo by Susie Kahlich © 2021

“I kind of just rolled with it. Adaptability — that’s from the training.” That’s what one of my Ninjutsu training partners said to me last week while we were heading home after a rare training session. We hadn’t seen each other or been in much contact over the past year, due to lockdowns and social distancing and busy with work, etc., so we were catching up on how each of us fared during the upheavals of 2020.

A filmmaker friend of mine is making a short documentary about women being independent, and asked me if she could film a training…


What exactly are we teaching boys about sexual violence?

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Photo by Susie Kahlich © 2021

This meme popped up in my Twitter feed recently:


The low-key misogyny of calling women “gifted”

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National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman reads her work, “An American Lyric,” at the inaugural reading of Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, September 13, 2017. Photo by Shawn Miller. Public domain.

The world was introduced to US National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman on January 20th this year, when she read her Inaugural Poem The Hill We Climb to commemorate the swearing in of the 46th President and the 49th Vice President of the United States of America.

I don’t know Amanda Gorman, but I know one of the organizations that has played a pivotal role in her development as a poet, WriteGirl. …


The role of daughters when our mothers die

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Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Last night I had a long catch-up chat with a friend, a single woman in her 40s. She’s been on quite a ride lately: over the past couple of years, she suffered a concussion, her mother suddenly took ill and died, and she herself recently had a skin cancer scare. She told me that she had spent the past few days managing logistics of state-funded healthcare and childcare support in her country, as she has decided to have a baby.

So that’s what we talked about: my friend, as a single mom.

Actually, we talked about her doubts, and her…


The government’s refusal to believe that one of their own could turn on them despite clear warnings (and tons of evidence)

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Photo by Amanda Dalbjörn on Unsplash

I live in Europe, so it was already evening here when Trump was starting his rally that would set off the coup in the US, attempting to disrupt Constitutional procedure and overthrow the United States government. I went to bed early that night, but woke up at 3am to check the news. By that time, most of the insurrectionists had exited the Capitol building and it was all over.

Like most people around the world, I was horrified. And, like so many people in the US, I was not surprised.

I was, however, fed up.

In the hours and days…


What I’m Taking With Me, and What I’m Leaving Behind

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

The last year was hard on the entire world: devastating for too many, and daunting for us all. I was very lucky: while some people dear to me did contract COVID-19 and are suffering Long Covid symptoms, no one in my circle of family or friends lost their lives to the virus or any of the fallout from the pandemic.

I don’t take this for granted — the likelihood that it still can and probably will affect us in the most terrible way is still very high. …


Why the word “prey” is so harmful to women’s safety

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Photo by Matt Winkleft on Unsplash

When I am certifying new self defense trainers in the Pretty Deadly Self Defense program, I walk them through the rules for self defense training that are the mainstay of the program, and that coaches and trainers are required to inform their own clients at the beginning of every course they teach: 1/ training takes place in a safe space; 2/ you cannot make mistakes; 3/ the word “sorry” is forbidden; 4/ so is the word “prey”.

The logic behind most of our training rules are pretty easy to grasp:

1/ Our training always takes place in a safe space…


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Screenshot from “Violence Against Women” by Hannah Kugel © 2020 | Used with permission of the artist

Over the past week, two separate women that I’m teaching self defense to asked me, “what about the eyes?” They had had previous training where they were taught that a good form of self defense is to try and gauge the attacker’s eyes out, but both of these women were concerned that they wouldn’t be able to make themselves do that, if they needed to. One of the women also mentioned she had been told to splay her keys between her fingers if she’s walking anywhere and feels unsafe.

Two days later, my friend Hannah published a beautiful, intense video…


Suicide, addiction and abuse.

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Photo by Ivan Torres on Unsplash

Recently my feet swelled up beyond anything normal from the heat we’ve been having here in Berlin. I was concerned, so made a doctor’s appointment, but of course I had to consult Dr Google as well. One of the causes of sudden feet swelling is a blood clot in the leg, which scared me of course, because that can kill you. So the night I found that out, I was brushing my teeth before bed, looking at myself in the mirror and thinking, am I gonna see you tomorrow?

Then I realized how much I look…


Understanding Feminist Economics

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Photo by Alora Griffiths on Unsplash

Yesterday, somebody on Twitter tweeted “No mail. No healthcare. No jobs. No free or fair elections. Banned from the rest of the world. Our taxes blown on giveaways to corrupt corporations and institutions. Police violence against anyone who challenges this arrangement. We’re living in a failed state, no doubt about it.”

This caught my eye, because although the tweeter was referring to the US, the statement can also be applied to Belarus, the Ukraine, Poland, Brazil, Turkey, Russia, China and Hong Kong, and as of last week, the UK — specifically in relation to the A-Levels scandal…

Susie Kahlich

Producer and host of the bi-monthly podcast, Artipoeus: Art You Can Hear, and founder of Pretty Deadly Self Defense. www.artipoeus.com / www.prettydeadly.org

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