Martial Arts or Women’s Defense?
That seems to be the big question everybody is asking me these days. While updating my Women’s Defense curriculum, I found that all of the information and differing opinions about the best way to teach a short, effective defense class tailored to the needs of women was overwhelming, and quite frankly confusing. Some instructors encourage the use of pepper spray, tasers or firearms, while others claimed that those things are ineffective for most people. Some national organizations claim that martial arts are ineffective for women, while others encourage you to maintain your skills by continuing to study. So, how do you sort through it all? By using the same method that is taught almost universally in any defense system anywhere: Trust your instincts. You know what is best for you.
Let me Elaborate…
As of the time that I wrote this, I have spent over 24 years studying unarmed and armed self defense including the use of knives, sticks, firearms and just about anything else that I can. I have trained with law enforcement officers, soldiers and civilian experts, and I ask a lot of questions. Does that make me a tough guy? Not really, but it means is that I have a great deal of information on the subject of self and others defense.
That being said, let me give my completely honest opinion of “Women’s defense”:
Is there a set of skills that you can learn in 3 hours that will enable you to absolutely keep you and your family safe from any physical attack?
Of course not.
Why would police, military and martial artists invest in literally years of training if we could just take a 3 hour “Women’s self defense class” and be done with it?
Is there something so special about being a woman that there are ways of fighting that apply to women exclusively? No, not really.
So, Should there be special classes for women, and will it really work? Yes and yes. Surprised? Consider this:
- Many women have been unintentionally taught to be timid and to give in to the demands of an aggressor.
- Those same women are much less likely to give themselves permission to defend themselves until they have lost the advantage and are in a situation where they have a reduced chance of succeeding.
- Women who are forced to physically defend themselves are most often targeted by a “predatory” person who is looking for someone smaller and weaker than they are, and who is looking to get something from them, such as money or a sense of power and superiority.
- Because young women don’t typically physically fight each other for social status the way young men tend to, they often have little understanding of their natural capacity to defend themselves.
In order to break the self doubting mindset that leads to victimization, a “Women’s self defense” class is very valuable, and there are many organizations (including our dojo) who offer just such a class. The goal of our class is to:
- Awaken your natural self protection instincts.
- Make you realize how capable you already are of defending yourself.
- Encourage you to take the responsibility for your personal safety, especially if you have come to rely on other people to make sure that you are safe.
Can I do that in 3 hours? Yes I can. 8 hours would be better, but I can get you started in 3.
Is a Women’s Defense class enough to keep you out of trouble?
So, what do your instincts tell you? Trust them. Only you know the answers to the question. Let me offer some of the following ideas for you to consider:
- The Women’s self defense class is essentially an introduction to tactical skills. It will dramatically increase your odds of survival when being targeted by a predator, but there are more things that you can learn that will increase your skills still more. Do you feel safe enough, or should you seek further training?
- The physical defense portion of Women’s Defense teaches that you can dish out more damage than you thought you could. This is a powerful piece of information to have. Once you have those skills, you need to keep practicing them. Is there something you can do that will help you build on what you have learned, and give you many new skills that you have not even considered yet? There are also some martial arts that will not help you at all. If you feel that the physical portion of the class was valuable, but you need more, I suggest further unarmed combat training. What makes one martial art or training program better than another? It depends on the focus of the training, and your focus while training. Contact me and I will give you my opinions.
What about a handgun or pepper spray?
Weapons such as pepper spray and tasers are a commitment. In order for them to be effective, you have to have them ready when you need them. You also have to be able to use them smoothly, accurately and proficiently. This requires some training and also requires practice. They won’t do you any good in the bottom of your purse or back at home when you are surprised… If you are willing to carry them as a weapon, they can greatly increase your odds of survival, but you have to be willing to adopt certain aspects of a “warrior’s mindset” that goes well beyond the scope of a Women’s defense class. If they sound like something you are interested in, you will want more training, and I can offer it.
Firearms are even higher maintenance that the other weapons. I am a strong supporter of carrying firearms, as they can make an 85 pound girl as formidable as a 300 pound football player. That being said, there is a significant amount of physical, emotional and legal training needed for somebody who carries a firearm. That training is available, and can be enjoyable. Don’t skip it if you are going to carry your gun. Just don’t.
If you are interested in a Women’s Defense Seminar, or more in depth training to reinforce what you have previously learned, please contact me at: