RWA 2012: Dr. Debra Holland: Creating Fighting or Self-Defense Scenes by Jina Bacarr VIDEO

September 11, 2012 by in category Blogs tagged as , , , , , , , , , , , , , with 5 and 0
Home > Writing > Blogs > RWA 2012: Dr. Debra Holland: Creating Fighting or Self-Defense Scenes by Jina Bacarr VIDEO

Have you ever wandered down a dark street late at night, your high heels clicking loudly on the cobblestones, when you hear a second pair of footsteps behind you?

Is someone following you?

Heart thudding in your chest, you stop.

He stops.

You pull up your collar, keep walking, then you hear—

Heavy breathing behind you.

Your pulse races…the hair on the back of your neck stands up.

He’s right behind you.

What do you do?

Run or fight?

If you haven’t experienced this scenario, I bet your heroine has.

That’s what happened to my heroine, FBI Special Agent Breezy Malone, in my Spice novel, Spies, Lies & Naked Thighs, when she was on assignment in Paris:

“From my experience in the field, I know each fight is different and this enemy has his own agenda. Rape? Robbery? Could be, but I doubt it. They don’t operate this way when they want a woman. They act friendly, use pretty talk to pick up a girl, then knock her off her feet before she knows what’s happening to her.

I pull back, walk toward the rue de la Huchette, one step at a time, like all this is happening in slo-mo. As if the whole scene is a video game and someone else is at the controls, pressing the attack buttons and toggling my polygonal form to do what they want and I have no choice. Enemy contact. Kill’em. Kill’em. These words zap through my brain like a subliminal message from command center.

Keep going back. Left foot, right. My eyes scope out the environment. Stone buildings, windows shuttered. No escape. No one to hear the ruckus, the screams. The punks know that. They talk, egging each other on to see who’ll make the first move. Closer, closer they come, like maggots ready to feast on a warm corpse.

Not mine, you punks.”

I wrote from my first-hand experience when I constructed that scene. A similar incident had happened to me on that same street in Paris and I was lucky enough to get away. But I never forgot that fear pulsating through my veins. The icy chill that goes through you when you make that split decision that can determine whether or not you’re going to survive. Pulling up the emotions I felt that night helped me write the emotions of my heroine.

This scene went through my mind when I attended Dr. Debra Holland’s Workshop: Creating Fighting or Self-Defense Scenes at the RWA Anaheim 2012 Conference. Dr. Debra presented an outstanding workshop showing how to protect yourself as a woman and also how to put your heroine through her paces. She gave members from the audience the opportunity to experience what it feels like firsthand to be attacked by a stranger.

Here’s a video I put together from the workshop:

Wild Montana Sky (The Montana Sky Series)Dr. Debra Holland — — teaches a karate class at the American Martial Arts Academy located at1027 N. Harbor Blvd, Fullerton, CA 714 871-3898.

Check out their website for more information:

AMAA has been teaching Women’s Self-Defense Classes for more than thirty years.


The gentlemen from the Academy who assisted Dr. Debra are: Steve Hopple and Adam Rigsby.

A special thank you to fellow OCC/RWA member Rob Preece for his assistance in presenting the workshop.


And thank you to Sarah Andre —  — who volunteered to experience her heroine’s fight scene up close and personal.

I highly recommend Dr. Debra Holland’s workshop.

Thank you, Dr. Debra!



  • Anonymous
    on October 22, 2012

    ap mukhtalf sheron ki malomat hasil kr sakty hain is ley ya aik achi site hay

  • Anonymous
    on September 12, 2012

    Thanks, Lyndi, for the link to Debra's OCC story! Well deserved credit for her good work.

  • Anonymous
    on September 12, 2012

    I missed Debra's workshop at Nationals but attended the one she did at OCC in June and it was great!

    Also, check out the interview with Debra in Monday's Orange County Register about her crisis counseling. Great articls.

  • Anonymous
    on September 11, 2012

    Glad you liked the post, Dr. Debra! I was so impressed with your workshop and how you showed the RWA attendees the importance of "how it feels" when you write a fight scene.

    Also, I've corrected the post re: Rob Preece's affiliation. Thank you for letting me know!

  • Anonymous
    on September 11, 2012

    Thanks, Jina, for capturing some of my workshop at national and making this great blog post!:)

    Just to clarify, Rob is a fellow OCC-RWA member who helped me out. He is not a member of my dojo–American Martial Arts Academy.

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