Recently, a male martial arts instructor was asking on Facebook where he could get a padded suit to wear while he taught a women’s self defense class. I understand why he wanted it, however this struck a cord with me for a number of reasons.
I’m a woman and a long-time martial artist who often teaches self-defense to women. Most of the women who have attended my years of self-defense classes are NOT Alpha women who have an aptitude for kicking butt or in becoming an experienced martial artist. The majority who take a self defense class are timid women. Some of them even have a history of been sexually attacked in the past. These women are seeking a quick solution rather than long-term martial arts training. Rarely do any of these women sign up for karate lessons afterwards. It’s just not their thing.
Let’s be honest, the physical techniques we teach these women in the self defense classes will be forgotten shortly after they walk out the door. Why? Because it takes practice to get good at something and most of them will not practice.
The truth is, if the woman is not interested in becoming a martial artist, then they aren’t going to feel comfortable in attacking a guy in a padded suit. The best self defense for these women is preventing an attack by using their most powerful weapon… their brain.
I’ve learned that the part of the training that these female students appreciate most is the psychological aspect of self defense. In my T.U.F.F. Chick™ Womens’ Personal Safety and Self Defense Course, we focus 50% on how to avoid an attack. The other 50% of the time we focus on simple escapes and target areas.
I’ve heard of male instructors that focus on “toughening up” the women by having them attack, hit and beat up on everything from padded targets to men in padded suits. The most shocking idea was an instructor who told me he purchased several hog’s heads from a local butcher so the women could practice gouging out the eyes. Really?!!! I wouldn’t be shocked if this idea completely bombed with the women in his class.
What women will take with them are the tips on prevention. They’ll remember the psychological aspect of not being a victim, how to avoid an attack and how smart decisions can reduce a dangerous situation.
Most women are intelligent and have excellent intuition. They simply need to be reminded that physical strength and martial arts capabilities are not a requirement for successfully preventing an attack. Self-confidence, awareness of ones surroundings and prevention techniques are the foundation of self defense.
Let’s stop assuming that a women needs to learn how to fight back to be able to defend herself. In fact, here’s a novel idea…
Offer more classes for youth and teen boys where we teach them how to respect, protect and honor all women to keep them safe.