Because of the reasons most women seek out self-defense instruction, women’s self-defense courses tend to be serious affairs compared to the average self-defense class. If a woman is interested mainly in physical fitness, there are plenty of other alternatives more directly dedicated to that purpose. A pursuit of self-defense instruction implies the realization that it’s an unsafe world out there, and that a person ignores the risk at their own peril. Historically, no segment of society has been made the objects of misuse more consistently, or savagely, than women.
So for women especially, learning self-defense is just common sense.
Getting To Safety, Not Beating Up Your Attacker
Women’s self-defense classes or seminars tend to be more focused than a general-purpose martial arts class, and the curriculum more precisely targeted.
Most courses of instruction cover at least two distinct elements of women’s self-defense: recognizing danger, and responding to danger. In the recognizing danger part of the class, women are taught the importance of situational awareness and projecting self-confidence, as well as receive instruction in reading the body language of others. The sooner one is aware one’s safety is compromised, the sooner a defense can be mounted.
Beyond the martial arts-specific elements emphasized by the different programs are instruction in the power of the voice; setting and maintaining boundaries; establishing consistency between body language, voice, and content; and projecting assertiveness, and its distinction from both aggression and passiveness.
Responding to Danger
Most women’s self-defense classes and seminars begin with the assumption that the students already know how to be ladies, they’re there to learn how to become Instruments Of Self Protection. And most of the wisdom imparted in the course of instruction is not for those wearing their delicate sensibilities on their sleeves.
Because the sad fact is, most of the self-protecting women have to do in real life is against men. And men have certain weaknesses that all self-defense programs cover, but women’s self-defense classes positively linger on. If the student doesn’t begin the course of instruction giggling at scrambled-egg analogies, she quickly learns to.
What To Look For In A Special Program For Women
The first thing to look for is an environment in which the potential student feels comfortable. Most programs offer free or steeply-reduced introductory rates. In some cases and in some communities, where domestic abuse is a statistically worse problem than other places, many studios offer free women’s self-defense instruction as part of their effort to give back to their community.
Equally as important as “vibe” is the comportment and comfort-level of the staff. Many women seeking self-defense instruction would rather not receive instruction from a man, or from a team that does not include women. Also worthy of consideration are the certifications and experience of the staff. Are the instructors SHARP (Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention) certified? They may make you feel good, but do they know their stuff?
Are the programs offered the kind of programs you want? There are self-defense classes out there that cater to clients who simply want to avoid or escape attack, to those for students who want to open up a can of serious, bone-crunching you-know-what on potential assailants. Are the programs offered geared to your needs and goals?
If you have survived a trauma, or know someone who has and have been deeply affected by it, is the program you’re looking at equipped to be sensitive to the needs of the trauma survivors’ community?
Top Three Self-Defense Martial Arts For Women
If there’s one thing most observers and practitioners of the martial arts agree on, it’s that for pure, no-frills, take no prisoners self-defense, Krav Maga is pretty hard to beat. It’s the official self-defense system of the Israeli Defense Forces, and it’s specifically designed to teach effective and practical hand-to-hand combat techniques that do not end with merely incapacitating an attacker. Krav Maga improves flexibility and endurance, and emphasizes explosiveness; explosiveness is the great equalizer as it allows smaller subjects, such as women, to successfully prevail against larger, more powerful opponents.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (Jujitsu) is a streamlined form of grappling designed for maximum impact that includes choke holds and limb locks. It is designed for up-close fighting where the tactical or size advantage does not start out on the side of the person being attacked. Advancement in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is based on how well you spar, not whether or not you have remembered the steps of your form by the middle of the training cycle.
Kickboxing is one of the best standing fighting styles currently in vogue. And like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the student will only advance by actually mastering combat skills. It is a brutal and punishing workout and not for the faint of heart, but stunningly effective in improving strength, endurance, stamina, and self-confidence.
Finding The Right Class For You
An internet search turns up thousands of hits on, well, everything, including women’s self-defense classes. As you consider which classes, schools, and/or seminars to try, there are some helpful things to consider to make sure your choice fits well with both your expectations and your goals. You can find a list of those helpful considerations by clicking here. To begin searching for school's that offer women's self-defense seminars and training, click here.