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I firstly want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported the 'fight like a girl' initiative from the start. My students and friends Elizabeth Chung a Ann Clark, my student and assistant FLAG instructor Joseph Parker, Dr Jon Xue Zhang, Eliza from Room of Rest Yoga, Bede House, and my students, family, and friends. Thank You!

I never wrote a speech on the night of the launch because I was organising the event mostly alone and I just ran out of time. So, I want to take this opportunity to say all the things I missed out that evening.

Firstly - I want to make clear what this book represents and what it DOES'NT

This book is NOT being presented as a Solution to tackle the safety of women, because it doesn’t hold that power and neither do I and it’s not my duty to do that and nor is it the duty of any woman.

The issue of women’s safety is not for me or my book to solve, that issue is a societal one and should be addressed by those who hold the power that be to make real societal and structural impact and changes.

The reason I want to make that clear is because I have been asked how women can stay safe from violence generically - and frankly knowing how to defend yourself doesn't necessarily mean you are not likely to be in dangerous situations, it doesn't control someone else's actions it’s only a response to - and the onus should be on those who hold the power to address this and on the perpetrators, not the victims of it.

My initiative and my book at the very least give those who wish to learn - a good means to respond, and at the very best some great tools to live! Not just survive.

There is a difference in having skills that can respond to a threat and having skills that can tackle on a societal level the threats from happening.

And I feel that line of conversation derails the very important conversation that I am in full support of happening.

So, to be clear – I am not presenting my book as a solution to the disproportionate amount of violence women and marginalised genders face. This book; self-defence or martial arts should be something women do/read/learn because they want to, because they chose to not because they are being told this is what they need to do in order to be safe, because in reality, although it gives you tools to respond and how to get out of and away from dangerous situations it doesn’t tackle the issue of why these dangerous situations keep happening, and even if you were successful in defending yourself, that does not leave you free from anxiety, stress or trauma, there are after affects from this even if you succeeded.

So this book is full of information on how to be empowered by the knowledge of self-defence, by the life skills of marital arts, by the strength of knowing those red flags, and by the skills of knowing how to assess a threat, to regulate your nervous-system after trauma or highly stressful situations, the importance of knowing your worth, setting boundaries and being able to be aware of your surroundings without feeling like you have to run on high alert.

It’s my map to empowerment thought martial arts with some great self-defence tips should you want it.

Its everything I wish I had when I was 16-year-old girl who was running on fear 24/7 and high alert all the time... so much so that it caused chronic stomach issues, ptsd, flash backs and caused me to hide away and to stop doing the things I enjoyed. It took me years to pick up the pieces.

And because I am indeed a survivor, I know the very natural thought process or call to action a lot of women go to. Because I did - and often we outsource self-defence after an incident or reading about an incident because we want to be able to come to our own aid.... we want that for ourselves... which is a prerogative not a duty

However, I also know that it’s not enough to just know how to, but also to know when to, to develop the capacity to be able to mentally not just physically, to have a safe space when training or learning as things may come to surface, and to learn to regulate an over stimulated nervous system so that we can be and feel more present, calm, and happy. this is a steppingstone and a great foundation before venturing into self-defence or if you want to know something but don't feel there yet to attend a class. I also hope it can support others who want to teach women self-defence.

This book is so much more than self-defence, in fact my editor said ‘if anything the self-defence aspect adds to it’

And although the self-defence side in the practical sense is scientific in its approach, a very intelligent way of applying the Knowledge and skill through tying in adaptable principles to the technique, learning to use opponents force and what they chose to do to your advantage, and learning to develop a dynamic and explosive force in a natural way... that doesn’t come in to play unless we develop internally too.

It’s both a scientific and holistic approach through an empowering lens, not to prompt fear but to prompt flight and light.

Secondly – a thank you to:

  • Harper Collins publishers for believing in me and for my editor Anna for saying such an amazing speech.

  • To My agent Philippa who asked me to write this book.

  • To Bede house’s Nicole for her incredible heart felt speech.

  • My brother Ryan for his introduction speech.

  • My cousin James aka ‘Jimmy Blackfoot’ for hosting the evening.

  • To everyone who showed up that evening.

  • Everyone who bought the book, and for every single woman and girl I have met and taught at my workshops! Thank you for inspiring me to write it.

And lastly,

I wanted to say thank you to my mother Helen, who is no longer with me but will forever be in my heart and mind. I love you mum, thank you for encouraging me to write this, losing you gave me the courage to be as honest and to dig deep, and share my own experiences. I dedicated it to you. I will love you forever … see you in my dreams x

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