I am a holistic health and nutrition coach, as well as a scenario based, full force self defense instructor. Though I feel equally passionate about both fields, the self defense part did come first…because it was something I found myself in need of as a result of being assaulted at age 15. I was grabbed right off the street in broad daylight on a Sunday afternoon in residential Beverly Hills and dragged to a waiting car…so much for living in a safe neighborhood…and, while I count myself extremely lucky to have escaped before I was physically harmed, the experience totally undermined my sense of safety and security. I went on to have a nice career as an assistant film and sound editor working on big Hollywood movies and I managed to live with the sense of panic I’d feel when I was out alone and approached by any man…but it was not the life I envisioned for myself. When I decided to move into an apartment in the Hollywood Hills in my early 20’s I knew it was time to face my fears and learn how to prevent something terrible from happening again. That is when I found Impact Personal Safety – a program in Los Angeles that teaches women an awesome style of self defense called Adrenal Stress Scenario Training (ASST).
Self defense training completely changed my life and allowed me to regain my sense of power and confidence. I was so inspired by my classmates (many of whom had lived through far more traumatic events than mine and were still there learning how to kick ass) and I knew I wanted this kind of personal empowerment to be the centerpiece of my life. I trained at Impact for years, eventually becoming an instructor with their organization in 1992 and meeting my future husband in the process! In the later ‘90s I also had the opportunity to work with Peyton Quinn’s Rocky Mountain Combat Applications Training (RMCAT) in Colorado. Along the way I dabbled in some other martial arts, but my real interest has always been practical self defense. Since 2000 my husband (and seriously talented martial artist), Michael Belzer, and I have been teaching our own ASST program called R-A-W Power Real World Self Defense & Empowerment Training.
My primary focus has always been teaching self defense and empowerment skills to previously untrained women, teens and kids, but I’m proud to say that I’ve also been instrumental in bringing awareness of this training method to the wider martial arts community. I was a contributing editor for Black Belt Magazine for 5 years and was very honored to be inducted into their Hall of Fame in 2003, when they named me their “Woman of the Year”.
So, where does nutrition come into the picture?In our R-A-W Power self defense courses we frequently have students come to class feeling out of touch with their bodies and health or unhappy and critical of what they see in the mirror. However, as they gain confidence and skill and learn to tap into their fighting spirit, they often find that they are ready to change their relationship with their bodies and reclaim their health. After watching this pattern repeat for some years, I realized that if I had more education about health and nutrition I could help my students continue on their path of personal empowerment. I had some knowledge of healthy cooking and fitness, but to be able to offer the kind of holistic approach I knew was necessary, it was time to go back to school!
I am thrilled to say that I became a certified holistic health and nutrition coach in 2008, receiving my training at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition in NYC. I went there to learn about holistic nutrition and healthy lifestyle coaching and I expected to learn how to apply a whole new set of skills and ideas to help people learn to live and eat more healthfully. But an unexpected thing happened during my time at school – the more knowledge I gained about eating for optimal health and longevity, the more I noticed unmistakable similarities between healthy nutrition choices and the very self defense concepts and skills I’d been teaching for almost 20 years! It made perfect sense to combine these two areas I was so passionate about into one idea that would approach nutrition from a proactive and, at times, even defensive point of view. I’m delighted to now be able to use my expertise in both fields to help others create safer, healthier and more empowered lives!