it was a reflex
Since moving to NYC I have on more than one occasion had someone I barely know grab an inappropriate part of me in public. And my reaction has been to act before thinking. In one case, I smacked a guy in the nuts. In another, I slapped a guy's face. This unthinking reaction surprises me. I would have thought of myself as more of a deer in the headlights kind of person.
The thing that always concerned me in the self-defense classes I took was that it seemed like you had to be able to react without thinking and react with utter commitment to hurting that person who means you harm usually with the aim of getting away.
I worry a little. I would like to think of each of these as isolated incidents. But they may not be. Which would suck. It would mean that someday, someone will hit me back. And I will need a different kind of self-defense course to help me get out of that situation.