By Michaux Shaffer, Level 1 MovNat Certified Trainer & Mom of Four

Growing up in the South, I learned what matters most…being gentle and polite. Mind your manners, don’t offend anyone, and always remember to smile. Even my four children will tell you I am a pushover.


As a woman, I am always aware of being a possible target of violence. Having daughters, I really want to teach them how to protect themselves. I didn’t know how to even begin. Being as conflict averse as I am, taking some form of Martial arts was way too scary for me.

I am not a trainer or any career even related. While I am a trained marriage and family therapist, I have mostly been a full time mom of four for the last 23 years.

I began following MovNat in 2012 when I was doing a lot of long distance running. I needed to find a way to stay strong so I could run without injury. I was in my super woman phase… Thinking I could single handedly raise four children, run marathons, and leap tall buildings in a single bound.

When I really understood the value of MovNat was in 2014. I was diagnosed with cancer. I went from running 40 miles a week to not being able to walk around the block, pretty much overnight. My world got turned upside down. MovNat was invaluable during my recovery. It was a roadmap I could follow to get strong again. From the ground up. One progression at a time. A few years later, I was able to get certified as level 1 MovNat trainer. This goal and then accomplishment meant a lot to me. It was proof I was not broken. Just a little bent. And recovery and resilience was within my reach.

I am no longer super woman. But that doesn’t mean I don’t put on my “big girl pants” and try. :)

I signed up for MovNat Combatives because it seemed real world applicable and no nonsense. MovNat, in general, is accessible to anyone at any fitness level. Still, I was not sure I could do this.

The instructor reassured me from the minute I walked in the door. He could see I was apprehensive. With his warm smile and encouraging words, he put me at ease. He is an incredible teacher. He is able to combine his kind encouragement/support with his super badass skill/knowledge to draw out the strength you didn’t know you had. Then he makes you laugh with his great sense of humor.

Every time there was a practice drill I was unsure about, he just understood my fear and addressed it head on. He never made me feel stupid or weak. His validation and support gave me the courage to go for it. In the end, I was able to tackle every single challenge and drill!

I am proud of myself. I learned I am so much tougher than I imagined. I was the only girl in the class and, although, every single guy was stronger and more athletic than me, I was able to participate fully and hold my own. The instructor adapted each new challenge to every person at their level. This is a sign of a gifted teacher.

I came away from the class with new eyes. I see the world around me differently. It opened my mind in a way that I will forever be grateful for. It gave me permission to be fierce and fight back if I need to. I believe this mental shift is the ingredient that will save my life one day if I find myself in a dangerous situation.

I learned how to teach this to others. All women should have this knowledge and awareness. I plan to share it with my kids and family and friends. It is invaluable.

An added bonus that I didn’t expect is how much the principles and strategies apply to life, in general. They are good rules for living! I am able to hold my kids more accountable now. No more pushover mom! Because I was shown my own resilience and strength, I can see my children’s more clearly. I realize I am not doing them any favors letting their behaviors slide. :) Everyone is now towing the line at the Shaffer house, much to their surprise, and better for it!

Learn more about MovNat Combatives and find a course near you.