Self Defense: Ahop & Yul – Yu-Han Chao

  If he does these same moves to you,
do not fear.

  Do land bottom first, not on your
elbow or it might break. As you land,
slap the floor    to break the fall.

  While one leg is pushed and you’re
airborne for half a second, about to fall, prepare to land with the other foot and
on your hands, so you can get right
back up as soon as the other foot drops.

  Be prepared.

Ahop: Step forward with double knife
hand block against his wrist and neck,
left hand grips wrist, slight twist, right hand pushes back of neck. Pivot the left
leg counterclockwise and twist him,
bottom-first, to the ground.

Yul: Left rising block, right knife hand chops his neck, step forward with your
leg against his leg. Grab his left wrist
and dodge underneath it to the right.
Yank forward and trip him, face down,
to the ground.

  Your nervous sports-casting toddler watching from the bench.

  He pull my mama hair! He not nice!

  He make my mama fall down to the
floor! That’s not very nice!

  Death stares for anyone who takes
down her mama.

  Back at home, gathering rolls of
change in her playhouse, she announces,
for my kicking class, like mama kicking class.

Yu-Han (Eugenia) Chao was born and grew up in Taipei, Taiwan. She received her MFA from Penn State and teaches at the University of California, Merced. The Backwaters Press published her poetry book and dancing girl press, Imaginary Friend Press, and Boaat Press published her chapbooks. She is at work on a mystery novel, Karaoke Girls. For more information, visit

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