The BOUNDARIES PROGRAM was created by my wife, Master Tanya Bagot, and myself, Master Wally Bagot. The BOUNDARIES PROGRAM has its genesis in what was essentially billed as a self-defense workshop known as WAP (Workshop for Assault Prevention.) WAP was created by the two of us and my teacher, Master Larry Wikel, for participants who, while not actually interested in studying martial arts, were hungry to learn some practical, street-smart, effective techniques of self-protection for real-life situations where safety was threatened. Using aggressive principles of body force and balance, a series of basic movements was developed. Though limited in number, they were applicable in a nearly unlimited range of assault situations. What’s more, they could be learned and effectively executed by just about anyone regardless of size, strength, age, gender or physical speed and dexterity. In short, a small woman could become able to subdue a large man and put him on the ground in seconds with very little effort on her part or, for that matter, subdue multiple attackers with minimal additional effort.
The simplicity and universal adaptability of the movements were the keys to the course’s success and I am glad to say that everyone who took it finished with flying colors. When I say everyone, I’m not just talking about your average, reasonably healthy, fit individual. I mean everyone; including expectant mothers 4 or 5 months along, recovering stroke victims, participants confined to wheelchairs, participants with partial paralysis, victims of a wide variety of assaults and, yes, participants in various short and long-term recovery programs for substance abuse and compulsive behaviors.
It is important to mention here that I have also spent the last twenty years helping create and facilitate experiential-co-dependency-inner-child workshops in Los Angeles and New York. So it would probably come as no surprise that I soon became aware of other exciting results manifesting from the WAP workshops. Almost across the board, participants were sharing feelings and self-disclosing. They were sharing about new feelings of empowerment, self-confidence and self-belief on levels unknown to many of them before.
Participants weren’t just talking about higher self-esteem. They were relating senses of raised self-worth because they were becoming clear with themselves about their own boundaries. They were choosing to own the ones they felt they needed and letting go of old ones they felt no longer served them. They were, some for the first time, realizing that they had a right to their own boundaries and they were experiencing that they felt a more positive sense of self because they were now able to enforce their boundaries and that these were the boundaries they had chosen for themselves.
So now, WAP is synonymous with the BOUNDARIES PROGRAM. It is comprised of an ongoing series of classes that teach basic mechanics of movements for self-defense. These movements are the tools of learning and the focus is on both self-defense and self-actualization. These self-defense techniques cover a large spectrum of responses to situations; from the very passive, almost benign to whatever level of aggression is needed to defuse the assault and protect the “victim.” Furthermore, these techniques are learned and executed in simulated assaults using real “attackers” and making the full contact necessary.
Everyone leaves at the end of each class with pieces of knowledge and know-how they didn’t have before. And no one is required to do anything they do not want to do. No judging. No criticizing. Just encouragement, hard work, sharing and, as far as group dynamics go, a lot more laughter than one might have anticipated going in. As each individual grows, so does the group. This program isn’t about competition. It’s about promoting individual safety, self-acceptance and healthfulness and living with a heart wise enough and brave enough to stay open to the possibility of joy.