Much of what I see regarding ‘women’s self defense’ is infuriating, because it is both wrong and dangerous.

In fact, many women would be better off having saved their time and money avoiding these classes/seminars altogether, rather than be duped into believing the kooky things being taught by the so-called experts. These women would have a snowballs chance…of thriving in a violent encounter. I am simply not a fan of people taking advantage of others—especially when lives are at stake.

So that you can share in my frustration, here are just a few of the ‘techniques’ we often see masquerading as women’s self-defense:

  • Using your finger to poke the attacker in the eye.

– This is probably the most common one we hear about. Let’s be clear, you do NOT have access to fine motor skills in an attack and since perpetrators don’t stand still and announce themselves this is not the go-to method it is advertised to be.

  • Throwing a ‘backfist’ rather than a punch or palm heel strike (or elbow)- really?

– Clearly this ‘technique’ has never been field tested. Power in a punch comes from rotation. Several books have pictures of ineffectual fist flinging. It’s ridiculous.

  • Telling a woman how to hold her purse so she will be 18% safer

– Did you make that up all by yourself or did you use the Internet?

  • How to ‘reason’ with your attacker.

– I’ll skip the self-defense courses offered by psychotherapists, thanks.

  • Purposefully lying on the ground to kick your attacker (because woman have such little upper body strength).

– Well maybe they only learned the ‘backfist punch’? This technique is particularly dangerous when the attacker then pulls out his gun and there you are immobile, laying on the ground (or his buddy hops out of the van and your sexual assault begins. I could go on and on.)

  • High kicks to the attackers head.

– I can only assume a pervert taught this class.

This list is long and so absurd, you can only hope your attacker crumbles in a fit of laughter and forgets his original intent.

But seriously, now that you see a glimpse of the ridiculous content being taught, aren’t you angry too?!

Women are trying to protect themselves and too many of them are learning garbage that is going to get them hurt or worse.

The real myth about ‘women’s self defense’ is that it exists at all.

Even the worst instructors recognize that attacks sans weapons are aimed at targets who are smaller/weaker/slower than the perpetrator. So, if this is true (and we all know it is) why is women’s self defense different from regular self-defense? Should men have self-defense that is unique to them as well? If a technique is effective in defeating an attacker who is bigger/stronger/faster wouldn’t it be beneficial for everyone to know it?

Don’t misunderstand what I am saying. As a women, I understand we may have different concerns. (Outside of prison, I can’t imagine a grown man being fearful of rape.) But every other attack I can think of is gender neutral.

A woman gets choked in the same manner a man does, a woman can be grabbed and shoved into the trunk of a car just as a man can, etc. so should there really be a curriculum that is entirely different because women are also victims of sexual assault (that mirror other attacks men also face)? Common sense tells you the answer is NO!

So why the difference?

Women’s self-defense programs exploit women’s fears – focusing on the results of an attack.

And while the result [rape] is specific to a woman, the attack and the defense/technique to address the danger is the same for men and women in any well thought-out system.

To illustrate this point, consider the following:

  • A man in a guard position on the ground may be more concerned with his attacker reigning down elbows onto his face and head – whereas a woman may be more concerned about sexual assault. But the defense(s) to effectively escape this position is virtually identical for women and men.
  • Anyone sporting long hair should be concerned about hair pulls and the resulting dangers. This is not exclusively a women’s issue, but a factor for anyone who chooses to wear their hair long. Hair pulls are about head control, not about women.

There could be a variety of reasons you would choose to participate in a women-only class. But I implore you to ensure you are not learning a different, untested breed of self-defense from instructors who prey upon your fear (and their capitalization of it) to drive their business.

When talking with instructors, ask questions, challenge assertions, and make up your own mind about your safety – your life (or quality of life) may depend on it.

Leave a Reply