Women’s Self Defense

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Can Anyone Defend Themselves? Of course the answer is “Yes”, but each person has different circumstances. A 300-pound football player is going to have a different skill set than a 130-pound mother of two.

The biggest misconception in the martial arts is that a technique or a strategy will work the same for everybody, every time. Unfortunately, most martial arts preach this notion. They teach the same thing to everyone with little thought as to the capability of the student. Instructors have been trying to fit the square peg in the round hole for as long as I can remember.

For example, the other day, I received a call a woman who has a 3-year-old child and was expecting another. Naturally, she was concerned about her safety a pregnant woman with children is an easy mark. Well, this woman thought she would have no problem using empty hand techniques to fend off would-be assailants. She was convinced that she could “Jackie Chan” a slew of muggers, rapists and thieves with one child in her arms and another strapped to her back!

After a few moments I told her that was all well and good, but before she unleashes her drunken monkey kung fu, she should probably take a few steps to prepare her self a lot better by decreasing her exposure. And if it came down to a physical threat, there are a few things she can do to put the odds back in her favor and increase her chances of survival.

Remember there are 3 things all criminals don’t want to happen:

Get Arrested
Get Identified
Get Injured
Keeping this in mind, the first thing I told her was the life she used to enjoy has now changed. A woman, preoccupied with the safety and care of two children, let alone one child, is a prime target for the skels who earn their living preying on the weak and the helpless. She should only go to very public, very safe places that are mother and child friendly. The days of going to malls in the evening or quickly running into the Laundromat leaving the kids in the car are over.

Another step to ensure your family’s safety is to schedule a day to run errands childfree. Or choose services that offer delivery. Now if you can’t afford certain things, well you need to do with out or get your imagination working to come up with a better solution.

Now if you are going out, you have to have a few simple items handy. They are ranked in importance form the perspective of escape and avoidance. This list considers range, commitment and lethal effects.

Personal Alarm (Training Minimal)
Pepper Spray (Training Minimal)
Edged Weapons (Training Moderate to Heavy)
Impact Weapons (Training Moderate to Heavy)
Empty Hand (Training Heavy)
*Note Firearm has been deliberately left off the list.

Both the pepper spray and personal alarm are used to cause a distraction without getting tangled up in your opponent. A hesitation in your assailant’s assault will allow you the opportunity to escape and get to safety.

Next come edged weapons (Push Daggers and Knives with Finger-Holes). They require a lot less power and are a lot more effective than impact weapons. The push daggers and finger-hole knives give you two advantages: a specific way to grab it and are extremely difficult to drop. And in the course of a fight for your life, the less you need to think about, the better. The downside of course is the close proximity you need to be to use the weapon.

Then come impact weapons. They multiply the force you can exert, but they still require more strength, power and body weight.

And of course, empty hand techniques.
Remember, technology will ALWAYS trump hand to hand methods. ALL HAND-TO-HAND is a tactical last resort.

However training in empty hand techniques should be pursued vigorously. There is a great chance you will be taken by surprise and have to use hand to hand in order to get to your weapons.

Plus, it gives you something to fall back on in worst-case scenarios. It also gives you confidence and it awakens the part of you that doesn’t think tactically and defensively.

So all self-defense comes down to more than just techniques. It encompasses the key elements of Awareness, Strategy, Planning and Training.

Predators are banking on the fact you will play the odds and not do any of these.

And all you have to do is be in the wrong place at the wrong time. All you need is one meeting to go late, one thing in your routine to be disrupted and that once busy parking lock is now a barren wasteland. And there you are SOL.

Training for reality is about training your mind to find whatever solution you need to survive.

And that starts well before the fight is imminent. The person who doesn’t prepare for the absolute worst and thinks they are going to get by with just “empty hand” methods is very ignorant, very lucky or very dead.

PS. If you think women are weak, go check out Dr. Ruthless

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Women’s Self Defense

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Women’s Self Defense
Original Poster: dscott
Forum: Hand to Hand Combat
Posted On: 16-08-2007, 12:39

Orginal Post: dscott: I’m toying with the thought of approaching my instructor to teach a self defense class for my wife and her friends. The only thing I’m skeptical about is his experience with this type of thing. After all, women’s self defense is a whole other style.

What are your experiences with women’s self defense classes? Anyone ever taught one? I know there aren’t many girls here but anyone ever attended one?

Also, it’s not something that you would charge for right?

Post: zefff:

Id imagine the main problem is that a little knowledge can be more dangerous than none. Its like Des said on another thread, learning how to avoid becoming the selected victim is what its all about. Not any techniques or training.

Women same as men and children who are concerned about their saftey need to think about what situations they place themselves in and how much of a risk are they taking at any one point in time.

I personally dont have a high regard for self defence classes at all really because they almost always seem to focus on techniques and escapes such as “if he does A, you should use B” rather than streetwise strategy, common sense, mental agility, adrenaline and emotional stress etc.

Can a self defence class really make people emotionally ready for dealing with the worst kinds of animals? Its wise IMHO to consider that for them to be attending the course in the 1st place, they must already percieve their own weakness. The mind drives the body so for any course not to be a waste of time it needs to empower the mind.>

Post: dscott:

I agree that you have to teach everyone about your surroundings as well. But for you to say that a little knowledge is more dangerous than none is a bit off. I understand that one class isn’t going to make you indestructable. Even the most seasoned martial artists don’t feel like they can take on anyone. What I’m saying is that if you teach them the proper way to strike, where to strike, etc….and also teach them ways of avoiding a conflict, then one class is better than nothing. I feel that you also have to let them know that they shouldn’t feel like they can take on a rapist after one class (or at all for that matter).>

Post: The BadBoy:

I agree 100 % with Zeff. Awareness. awareness, awareness. This should be the majority of the teaching. Techniques should be secondary and very basic fundamentals. If the class doesn’t emphasise awareness above all else. It’s probabaly not a good one.>

Post: bamboo:

Like its been said a million times, its all about situational awareness.

The wife attended a womens only SD class and shocked by the propoganda being spewed. She said if anything it simply made people paranoid, BTW, the instructor was a male.

BTW, I was asked to teach a class at work for the ladies in my section but refused based on my below arguement.

I really believe that women’s self defense should be taught by women. Men cannot possibly understand how women think or (re)act physically. Having a big man show a bunch of small women how to fight is silly to me, like a lion teaching a squirrel how to hunt, its just not the same tools or experience.

Why not have the wife join your class? Great fun and you get to spend time out of the house together.

Best of luck my friend!

-bamboo>

Post: Tease T Tickle:

The thing that I love most, and I’m being sarcastic if you couldn’t tell, is when some guy starts a SD class for women and focuses on how not to get raped.

According to recent studies undertaken by my own university’s behavioral sciences department puts the incident rate of date rape (using coercion or drugs rather than force) accounts for about 85% of all rapes. Stranger rape, or assault base raped, accounts for only 5%. The remaining ten percent include non-coital rapes (non-consensual oral sex, for example).

How exactly are you going to teach women to karate chop GHB out of their system?

Zefff et Al. are right about awareness and not being a target, but some simple education goes a long way. For example, the most common form of violence against women is spousal abuse, not armed robbery. Teaching a woman to defend herself from an abusive husband entails emotional empowerment and a divorce lawyer, not muay thai kicks or jiu jutsu joint locks.>

Post: Gong||Jau:

Let’s be honest: there is very little, if anything, that a 120 lb woman can do to stop a 200 lb man from dominating her physically, especially if he’s angry, and since he’s probably armed. I wouldn’t bet on the woman in that situation were she a highly trained martial artist, and in my opinion the stuff taught in “self-defense” classes is totally worthless. If you think a mugger/rapist doesn’t expect you to try and kick him in the nuts, you’re delusional. If you think you can even make contact with his eyes, let alone damage them, when his face is practically out of your striking range to begin with and you’re probably positioned badly to be doing any striking, you’ve been lied to. If you think you’re going to dig through your purse, somehow find your mace, not drop it, and manage to aim it at him, then actually hit him with it, you’re falsely empowered by a weapon that isn’t that useful. Stay out of the situation to begin with.

Also, as Des mentioned, very, very few women are raped by a serial rapist. The vast, vast majority are raped by an acquaintance, and most of the others are opportunistic.>

Post: wuming:

I don’t want to sound like an ass, but I know this is going to sound very sexist. My girlfriend got some mace when she started college a couple of years back; and if someone attacked her and she tried to use it, I picture her just freezing up from fear. The attacker’s greatest advantage is the fear he can instill in someone. I think if anything, the most important thing in a woman’s self defence class, or any class for that matter, should be to get over the fear. A couple quick lessons in you should do A if B happens will not help. It would probably be better if they just enrolled in the normal class and participated in all of that instead, especially the free sparring.

And Des has a point too. Awarenesss and “street smarts” are going to be the most important lessons in those situations.

And I also thing GongJao hit a great point too. They would probably be better of just enrolling in a normal martial arts class and dedicating themselves to that. If someone is greatly overpowered by their attacker, they are not going to be able to use force against force. In this case the weaker opponent’s best weapon is their speed and setting up an optimal angle to defend and counter from, which is best taught in a full martial art class.>

Post: 8LimbsScientist:

The other thing that bothers me is these classes are usually short in nature and are just kind of “crash courses.”

For a woman to overcome the size advantage (when its small enough to be overcome at all) against a man, she needs to make training a part of her lifestyle. There are women who are professional fighters who I’m sure could handle themselves against an average sized man in a fight. But you can’t show an out of shape woman a few eye gouges and techniques and expect her to be rape-proof.>

Post: dscott:

[quote=wuming I don’t want to sound like an ass, but I know this is going to sound very sexist. My girlfriend got some mace when she started college a couple of years back; and if someone attacked her and she tried to use it, I picture her just freezing up from fear. The attacker’s greatest advantage is the fear he can instill in someone. I think if anything, the most important thing in a woman’s self defence class, or any class for that matter, should be to get over the fear. .[/quote 

I completely agree with everything that everyone is saying but what is the difference between men and women and their “fear”? I know that I don’t train how to overcome fear and I’m sure that many of you also don’t train it. It’s something that you have to take care of yourself.>

Post: nbotary:

I agree with a lot of the things that are being posted on this thread. I feel that SD classes are both good and bad. The positive is that they actually try to teach someone how to protect themselves in bad situations and to be aware of their surroundings. The bad is that they usually teach the wrong thing or fail to address “real life” and common sense issues. The majority of people who go in and try to teach a SD class for women try to follow the formula of “if A happens, then you do B.” Bullshit, straight up bullshit.

How many people are going to “ask” their attacker to attack them a certain way? How many of those attackers do you think would comply? The saddest thing and the biggest mistake that I feel most SD classes try to teach a women is that if they get attacked, they should always try to kick to the groin.

*buzzer*! Wrong answer.

Sorry, but as a man, the first thing that I learned after getting my boys busted up was how to protect them. It is a proven fact that if you try to kick a man in the nuts, 9 times out of 10 you will not succeed becuase 1.) he will already be prepared for it, or 2.) it won’t be a hard enough strike to do any real damage. So what should you do? The answer lies in two simple, yet effective techniques that are left out of a lot of SD classes – eye gouges and throat strikes.

What is the first thing a non-MA does if they are being grabbed? They generally grab at the person’s hands, right? If I have both hands on you, I can’t defend myself. I have two sensitive and very painful targets left unprotected – my eyes and my throat.

I constantly ask my wife if she knows what to do if she’s ever attacked and have repeatedly told her that if she finds herrself in a situation, this is her best and only chance to escape. She responded with the typical, “That’s gross, I can’t stick my fingers in someone’s eyes!” I told her if it comes down to her life or theirs, she’d be surprised at whether she thought it was gross or not, especially if our son was threatened. If you strike someone in the windpipe or even push a finger hard enough into the little soft spot underneath the throat, they will drop like a rock. No matter how big the attacker, nothing compares to getting poked in the eye or having the wind knocked out of you.

Bottom line is nothing, absolutely nothing will take the place of awareness and common sense. However, if someone goes in with the mindset that it’s “them or me”, they are going to fair a lot better.>

Post: Gong||Jau:

I mentioned eye-gouging in my post. The most likely result is that they’ll have a slightly scratched, irritated eye, and you’ll be dead. If you can’t punch someone in their face, how are you going to rip out their eyes? You don’t exactly have a lot of time in which to work.>

Post: Tease T Tickle:

[quote=wuming I don’t want to sound like an ass, but I know this is going to sound very sexist. My girlfriend got some mace when she started college a couple of years back; and if someone attacked her and she tried to use it, I picture her just freezing up from fear. The attacker’s greatest advantage is the fear he can instill in someone. I think if anything, the most important thing in a woman’s self defence class, or any class for that matter, should be to get over the fear. A couple quick lessons in you should do A if B happens will not help. It would probably be better if they just enrolled in the normal class and participated in all of that instead, especially the free sparring.[/quote 

A few well-respected SD courses – unfortunately I can’t think of the woman’s name who started one of them – actually focus on what has come to be called (I’m not sure if it’s proprietary or not) Adrenal Stress Training. Basically, they put a guy, usually a burly guy who take some punishment and has a nice, deep voice, inside of a padded suit and do some over-the-top assault and battery type situations with the ladies in the course. The goal is to scare the living bejesus out of the students and force them to react in just about any way rather than freezing up.

To address the comment made about the differences between fear in men and women, I’d like to point something out. American culture raises boys differently from girls. You still with me? Good. Girls are taught by mommy and daddy that socializing is fun and communicating to resolve your conflicts is the best way to get past ugly little problems and go back to being daddy’s little angel. On the other hand, boys are sent into the backyard with mock implements of war and physical violence is a-okay, especially if it’s all in good fun, because getting the shit kicked out of you is the best time you can spend with your neighbors. So, yes, women typically will react to an adrenaline-inducing situation differently than men because men have spent their entire lives wrestling, boxing, tackling people in ball games, flexing muscles to look tough, etc. Furthermore, every woman who isn’t raised in the middle of the roughest neighborhood in her particular area, has been told her whole life how the world is full of sickos that will hurt her, especially if she has to go to the *gasp* city. So, we have a bunch of women who have probably never even seen violence without rolling their eyes and thinking they’re better than men walking through life thinking every guy she meets only wants to beat her senseless and fuck her behind a dumpster. Tell me that they aren’t going to freak out when a guy actually tries to do just that.>

Post: zefff:

[quote=dscott 
I completely agree with everything that everyone is saying but what is the difference between men and women and their “fear”? I know that I don’t train how to overcome fear and I’m sure that many of you also don’t train it. It’s something that you have to take care of yourself.[/quote 

Dscott mate,

this is really interesting to me because I am constantly aware of my fears inside. At the end of the day we are learning to fight better and fighting or being attacked is scary.

You overcome fear with knowledge. Thats why the few people with true faith dont fear death.

Fair enough though we cant know everything but knowing your own capabilites along with the capabilites of your enemy at any one point in time and space means you know what he can do and more importantly what he cannot do.

You can try to erradicate fear (of death) in yourself by many means (maybe others can share ideas), but you could also work on using your fear to fuel your technique. Sparring hard and doing things regularly that scare you is a good way to do this. Challenge your fears. Take hits, breakfalls, look over heights, confined spaces, darkness, holding breath, even picking up spiders are some of the things I do to work on it.

The only way you can break through the bullshit of martial arts theory and truely use the practice effectively is to accept your fears and challenge them.

peace,

zefff>

Post: wuming:

Thank you des for saying what I was — and yes the pun is intended — afraid to say lol.>

Post: Tease T Tickle:

[quote=wuming Thank you des for saying what I was — and yes the pun is intended — afraid to say lol.[/quote 

I’m good at that, I think.>

Post: UKE03743:

OK…Hello Guys. As a women and a law enforcement officer, my opinion could be biased. also keep in mind i was basically raised by my dad and his friends because i hated all things pink and frilly… But it is my opinion that a woman can be taught the same principles a man can be taught…and use them effectively, if not more-so. I am an apprentice defensive tactics instructor. I BY NO MEANS M A BAD_ASS… just an UKE still learning the ropes. i’ve been lucky enough to have many great teachers. Deputy Jason Ruegge being the lead instructor… people who follow oklahoma BJJ/Vale tudo might remember him…he fought local for a while, but has since done just DT trainig for county. Jason Sampson – a lovato prodigy, and good friend of mine… HE’s NUTS!!! that guy is so fast, and his BJJ technique is flawless!!! i’ve been very priveledged to have worked with them both.
to say that women need SD classes is not entirely unaccurate…but why do they need tyo take SD? I’m a firm believer of at least being well versed in one area of martial arts. just so you can survive. I’ll give you that females are physically weaker. however if properly trained, women can be just as powerful, and potent as men. They just need to take it upon themselves to hone thier skills.
My dreamday consists of going to the gym to roll with Jason and Jason. I love BJJ/Vale Tudo/LEDT!!! it fucking rocks…

once again i state that i am simply an uke still learning the ropes…but i am female…and am afraid of no man. he may be bigger…but i train harder!

” i’m gonna teach you 12 things. and you are going to do those 12 things about a million times. you won’t look as cool as the people who kinda know 700 things kinda well, but you’ll walk away because you know 12 things better than you know yourself.” ~ Deputy Ruegge>

Post: bamboo:

Hi Uke and welcome

I must say this is a rather old thread and although I’ve not bothered to reread much of it I remember the jist of it. That being said-

Quote:
to say that women need SD classes is not entirely unaccurate…but why do they need tyo take SD? I’m a firm believer of at least being well versed in one area of martial arts. just so you can survive. I’ll give you that females are physically weaker. however if properly trained, women can be just as powerful, and potent as men. They just need to take it upon themselves to hone thier skills.

I completely agree with you. As you’ll likely note wit ha little digging around on this site I am wholly against “women’s SD classes”. They are in my humble opinion useless. A woman that wants to train needs to train under the same conditions, rolling with the physically stronger men in order to develop thier own “niche” as any man would.

The women I roll with at the gym vary from the technically smooth and proficient to those trying out outmuscle people. Men/women- we all just need to hit the mat.

NOw- to new agenda having a female LEO around: What would be the most used arresting and subdueing techniques for you? What general MA techniques are the best for you in your job and which simply are useless for you?

Cheers- Bamboo

-bamboo>

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