I recently got the following email:
"This might sound serious, but I have been sent a slightly silly question and want to do my best to answer it. The question is: If you were wearing high-heeled, pointy-toe boots, would they be a help or hinderance in defending yourself?"
I've struggled with this question lots. As a matter of fact, since the cold weather has once again hit the northeastern U.S., it has become my dilemma each time I am about to step out the door for my journalism classes and have to decide what to put on my feet. My running shoes would work best, of course, but that doesn't really speak "professionalism" in the land of academia. So I zip up those ankle or to-the-knee boots and question that decision all the way from my car as my boots click-click-click across the campus cobblestones. Since the first rule of self-defense is awareness, I'm aware of how difficult a time I might have moving around in those boots if a "situation" went down or if I actually had to run away. And with the second rule of self-defense being avoidance, that I've spent a whole lot more years running around an oval than learning self-defense combinations would probably make trying to get the heck out of Dodge quickly my first inclination. Any kind of heel - for clumsy me, anyway - would most likely prevent me from doing that very effectively.
So, yeah, my first impulse was to answer the email question with hinderance - with a capital "H."
With that being said though, I do know that being aware and trying to avoid won't necessarily keep you out of harm's way. Crazy happens to good people all the time, whether by happenstance, poor planning or missed warning signals. Maybe the question the emailer really wanted an answer to was "How could you use those boots if you're already aware that trouble is eminent and avoidance isn't a real possibility?"
In that case, those shoes might totally help you do whatever it is you'd have to do.
Every self-defense seminar I've ever sat in on has been consistent with one message: much of the stuff you already do/have at the ready can be your best weapons if you need them to be - like your house and car keys carried in your hand instead of in the bottom of your pocket or purse, or the little voice in your head insisting that something isn't quite right, or even the knowledge that the pointy parts of your elbows (or boots!) shoved into any soft spot on an attacker (inner thigh, calf, gonads - you get the point - and the pun is most certainly intended) could net enough incapacitation for you to get away. Just remember to make some noise while you're doing your thing, as doing what you have to do is not the time to be dainty and lady-like. If you have to take off that boot and pound someone with it, well...
The reality is that when the crazy begins, there are no rules.