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#242166 - 03/31/06 11:54 AM Teaching Women Self Defense
captnpepsi Offline

Registered: 05/17/05
Posts: 10
Hi all, I'm a junior instructor( practiced 14 yrs, have taught 4 years ), and i am concerned when it comes ot teaching women.

The methods we use against someone who is taller and stronger than us is different than those ew use against equally sized opponents.

For women, who are both smaller, weaker, and lighter it makes it that much harder to become effective combatants.

Sometimes i feel like the best i can do is tell the woman student what a police officer may say:

yell , scream , make noise, don't turn ur back, etc.

stuff that deals more with non-martial common sense defense than anythign else

Anyone here have any input on what tecniques work well for women of short stature?

It seems that they really have it hard - i mean you can have the most terrific punch for your size - but if you're a 7 year old chances are the 20 pervert wil lrape you if he wants to

#242167 - 03/31/06 12:33 PM Re: Teaching Women Self Defense [Re: captnpepsi]
underdog Offline

Registered: 09/18/04
Posts: 1270
Loc: Mansfield, MA U.S.A.
I share your frustration both as a teacher, and as a female practitioner. In addition to everything else you mentioned, women are just naturally less aggressive then men. Testosterone not only builds muscle mass, but it makes people aggressive. Men have more of it than women naturally.

One more important difference is that when you teach self defense, as opposed to teaching white belt beginners, is that the self defense student is not making a long term commitment to practice while the white belt expects to. This means that any technique you teach has to be easily effective and easily remembered without practice.

I think your police advice is very good. It is just addressing reality.

On the other hand, while teaching self defense, especially if you have students that are younger and in good physical condition and demonstrate an interest or aptitude, do encourage them to pursue martial arts. Do what you can to be sure that your dojo is a welcoming place for the diversity of learners out there who COULD benefit such as those with some mental or physical disability, females, older students etc.
The older I get, the better I was!

#242168 - 03/31/06 01:01 PM Re: Teaching Women Self Defense [Re: captnpepsi]
Joss Offline

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 567
I believe that self-defense MA, in general, falls pretty short in addressing special needs students... which turns out to be about anyone but healthy full size males. Maybe they are women, maybe they are older, maybe they are physically challenged. The truth is, though, that most MA programs are "one size fits all" and designed for healthy young males; from kihon, through the selection of kata, through bunkai, through sparring. You go to a dojo - there is only one program path to dan rank.

Some day, maybe, the folks in charge will look around and accept that women suffer entirely different assualt scenarios than males, and that women don't as a rule do "bar fights" or "duels". Those are "guy things". What women need is techniques that address ways that they most commonly are attacked.

The same applies to the 50 and older set as well (my personal niche). Having kata in the syllabus that require leaping kicks or lifting, twisting throws like Ogoshi is sort of pointless if you no longer have decent back mobility.

I really enjoyed reading in another thread about how one school was able to come up with FUNCTIIONAL instruction for a student bound to a wheel chair. That's wonderful. Maybe one day it won't be so rare.

#242169 - 03/31/06 01:03 PM Re: Teaching Women Self Defense [Re: Joss]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6665
Loc: Amherst, MA

I would propose that a major drive behind weapons creation (and constant innovation) is the need to equalize.

#242170 - 03/31/06 01:43 PM Re: Teaching Women Self Defense [Re: harlan]
Joss Offline

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 567
"I would propose that a major drive behind weapons creation (and constant innovation) is the need to equalize."

Absolutely. "God created men. Sam Colt made them equal."

#242171 - 03/31/06 09:13 PM Re: Teaching Women Self Defense [Re: captnpepsi]
medulanet Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 2142
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona USA
Anyone who is seriously considering self defense and does not carry a weapon at all times is just kidding themselves. Actually there is one place where men are in danger of being attacked in similar ways that women are everyday, in prison. And the bottom line is when you are down(meaning locked up in prison for those that don't know) you better have some sort of shank or weapon readily available. It helps to learn self defense from those that live it 24/7.

#242172 - 04/03/06 07:39 PM Re: Teaching Women Self Defense [Re: medulanet]
sunspots Offline

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 650
Loc: Southern Oregon, USA
Some things we mention in our school related to un-equal match-ups in self-defense:

Even the biggest, toughest guy has vulnerable spots. Eyes, knees, groin, throat, etc. Not legal targets in sport karate, but good for self-defense. If the bad guy can't see, run, or breathe, he's not coming after you. In the dojo, we "fight fair," and "play nice," but if someone is truly aiming to hurt you, all rules are off.

Give them permission to defend themselves. They don't deserve to be attacked, but some don't realize that they CAN do something about it. Self-confidence is a big part of it.

Hope this is helpful,

"Anything unattempted remains impossible."

#242173 - 04/03/06 10:21 PM Re: Teaching Women Self Defense [Re: captnpepsi]
dmsdc Offline

Registered: 07/27/05
Posts: 37
It is my opionion that one of the most powerful things you can give women during a self-defense seminar is the opportunity to say (loudly) some key phrases.

"Stop". "Quit Bothering Me." "I Don't Know You." "Leave Me Alone."

The "I don't know you" one is particularly important because many people will ignore a situation if they think it is a domestic violence issue.

Another key skill is to introduce women to the idea that if the person approaching them isn't listening to what they're saying - then it is time to stop being nice and to get loud.

"Back Off." "Leave Me Alone!" "Back OFF!" "I Don't Know You!"

The second key thing is to invite women to make a decision - in advance of any bad situation, that they are going to protect their well being and the well being of anyone in their care.

This has to do with something academics like to call self-efficacy. I posted some information about it on my forum that might be an interesting read:

However - even just giving women the opportunity to think about the idea that they will choose in advance to defend themselves might bring up some ideas that will suprise you.

I've had other women tell me "I could never hurt someone else." "It isn't right for me to hurt them." "I can't hurt them."

What happens when violence knocks and politeness answers?
**warning** - the story in the following link contains a graphic description of one woman's account of her own rape. I don't usually post stuff with this kind of content - however I think it is the key issue facing women today. Many, if not most, women do not believe in their heart of hearts that they have the right to stop someone who is hurting them.

Hope that helps you as you think about what you are offering in your approach.
happy training, Dana

#242174 - 04/05/06 12:25 AM Re: Teaching Women Self Defense [Re: dmsdc]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina

What happens when violence knocks and politeness answers?

Congratulations... great way to phrase the question.

What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

#242175 - 04/05/06 08:01 AM Re: Teaching Women Self Defense [Re: wristtwister]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6665
Loc: Amherst, MA
I do think the basic value of a general self defense course is the introduction to our social conditioning. After that, it is up to the individual to take responsibility for his/her well-being and security.

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