In the world of women's self-defense training, there are two generally accepted "schools" of thought. Unfortunately, both take extreme viewpoints and are usually founded on nothing more than the so-called "expert's" beliefs. Without real-world experience, and instructor teaching self-defense to anyone, but especially to women, is quite likely putting their students in severe danger.
Women's self defense issues are constantly in the news and a 'hot' topic for conversations. It seems that everyone from police officers to karate instructors has his or her own philosophy and theories about the how's and why's of self defense for women and girls.
The truth is though, that many of the same techniques and tactics taught to men for self-protection simply will not work for a woman. Why?...
... because attacks perpetrated on women have, at their foundation, certain inherent problems, issues, and conditions that are often very different for men who find themselves in defensive situations. Women have to deal with things that, quite frankly, men don't.
Click on the link at the end of this article to get more information about real-world self defense for women designed around issues specifically related to womens self-defense.
Now, before some of you start rolling your eyes or nodding your head in agreement, this is not a women's lib issue or anything of the sort. It's simply the way it is.
What kind of things make self-defense for women different? I'm glad you asked.
Well, for starters, physiologically speaking, there is a 7-to-3 strength ratio between male and female bodies. That means that if you were to stand a man and a woman, having the same height, weight, and build, side-by-side, and all things considered (health, fitness, etc.)...
... the man would still be two-and-a-half times stronger than the woman!
This is not theory or one person's belief over those of others. It's scientific fact.
Next, women are more likely to be slapped, grabbed and pinned than punched or kicked. For men, it's just the opposite. The fact is that, most of us have been conditioned since childhood to act, play, and, yes, fight with each gender very differently. And attackers are no different.
The good news is that more and more women are being drawn to the life-enhancing benefits of the martial arts and basic self-defense programs for increasing their level of self-confidence and overall feelings of safety and security. The not-so-good news is that...
... there is a shortage of:
* Martial arts instructors who understand scientific self-defense, 'and' have the necessary life experience to be able to teach from a perspective that shares that experience.
... if an instructor has never been in a real-world self defense situation themselves, it will make it nearly impossible for them to teach real self defense to anyone - let alone self defense for women. It's kind of like going to a priest of counselor for marriage counselling who has never been married themselves. They both have information passed on by others but, neither has anyway of expressing that information based on real-word knowledge.
However, there is an over-abundance of...
...so-called self-defense experts who are of the tough-guy, fighter type or the "This is Reality - Deal With it! macho-type.
These people, by their very nature are the "slugger-types" who rely and depend on speed, strength and size to win. Since self defense situations usually involve a bigger, faster, stronger attacker victimizing a smaller, less-prepared target - and, that'sexactly what most women are up against when they're attacked...
... these instructors, and their "strike-first-and-crush-them-where-they-stand mentalities, are far from being suited, knowledgeable, or able to deliver the necessary lessons needed by women to effectively protect themselves from an assailant intent on dominating them physically.
Other Considerations for Girls and Women's Self-Defense
The following is a partial list of some of the other major differences between self defense for women and men. The important thing to remember is that...
... a self-defense situation is very different from a sport or competition-based contest where the individuals are willing participants. They are evenly matched to insure for a "fair fight." I have been in contests and I have been attacked and I can tell you without a moment's doubt that...
... there is nothing "fair" or "even" about a real attack. NOTHING! And, once your personal space is invaded by another human being wanting to beat you to your core, you will know what I mean and never, ever, buy into the crap that most of these so-called experts are shovelling.
With that said, please know that I have not said that every self-defense or martial arts instructor is full of it. Just that you must know what you need and make sure that that's what you're getting. Remember - you're not buying a couch that you can take back. A mistake in this area could literally cost you your life!
Here are some other differences between men's and women's training that a good program must address:
* Cultural Influences - girls have been taught from a very early age that fighting was not "lady-like."
Oh my god! What would people think!
* Situational Self-Defense - rape and sexual assault are two of the biggest differences between the genders when it comes to suriviving an attack.
The fact that men are usually dealing with the more obvious situations (muggings and competitive ("oh-yeah! let's go!"-type fighting), while women, and more and more young girls, are required to deal with subtle tactics like date-rape or being ambushed by a group.
Add to this the strength differential discussed earlier, and you have a very different situation, requiring very different self-protection tactics.
* Incorrect Information - I believe that the majority of teachers and instructors mean well. They aren't out to con you. It's just that they have no real experience to go on so they do what everyone does when they don't know any better...
... they make assumptions that seem logical and rational within their own frame of reference.
The problem is that we're talking about self-protection here...
... self defense for women...
... girls self-defense. Not...
... vegetable soup. Where, if you make a mistake, you can just dump the pot and start over.
As I said earlier, a mistake in a women's self-defense situation, in any situation requiring defense against an attack from an assailant bent on damaging you, could be very, very costly indeed.
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