Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Discussion Topic: Women's Self-Defense

A co-worker shared a story about advice she was given ten years ago on the topic of women's self-defense. At the time, my co-worker worked as an executive for a large retail department store chain.  She would often travel to store openings and promotional events.  She was given the following advice by a security professional: 
You are a women and at the end of the day it doesn't matter.  A man will overpower you.   You have to remember...men are stronger than women.  Regardless of size, a man can take a women down.  It is the way men and women are designed.
Thoughts?

15 comments:

Sandman said...

The way that's worded he seemed to be saying "if a woman is attacked by a man, forget it - its all over." I don't agree with that, but I do agree with the premise that you (anyone, man or woman) need to expect that your attacker(s) will be bigger than you, stronger than you, will be carrying a weapon, etc... Our karate study is supposed to be the equalizer, but you have to train realistically for it to work.

Charles James said...

Sexist talk. This is so untrue. This thinking is purely a egoistic male attitude that is not true.

First, women can avoid better than men. Second, women taught proper principles and application can overcome much larger, heavier and stronger attackers.

Third, it is a matter of proper training for reality-based fense.

This kind of dribble is defeatist. I have seen small persons do damage and other things to larger persons with the proper mind-set and training.

Anyone who tells anyone this stuff is not a very good instructor, teacher, Sensei and/or mentor.

Knitting Martial Artist said...

I agree with the last two comments. Women may not have the same strength or size, but that doesn't mean that no matter what, the women is screwed. That seems more like the guy hasn't met strong women before (physically or mentally) or he simply ignores the women he does meet.

Michele said...

Thank you for joining the discussion!

I was shocked by the security professional's advice to my co-worker. In fact, I asked her to repeat the story to make sure I clearly understood the statement.

I agree that proper training and mindset is key. Some concepts that come to mind thinking about my self-defense strategy/training: prevention, avoidance, timing, target and opportunity.

In my opinion, the advice given to my co-worder was a disservice.

phrakture said...

It's definitely possible for TRAINED women to defeat men. Anyone trained in fighting skills can defeat someone larger, assuming they actually know how to fight.

But the security professional's advice is sound, and here's why:

1) Your friend was untrained. You don't tell an untrained individual to fight back against attackers. You tell them to flee and avoid attackers.

2) The best self defense is to not be there. For a vast majority of people, fear is required to avoid potentially dangerous situations. If your friend believed they had a chance, perhaps they would be bold and end up hurt

Michele said...

Thanks for adding to the discussion. I agree that prevention and avoidance are key.

His comment "It is the way men and women are designed" gives me the feeling he would apply the same advice to all women...regardless of training.

I think the disservice was the lack of options he presented. There were no suggestions about avoidance, prevention or self-defense classes. Simply that if she gets attacked by a man...there is nothing she can do about it.

Rick said...

Man or woman, taking one's training seriously, rather than dabbling improves one's odds. There are no guarantees.

Noah said...

To say that a man will always overpower a woman, regardless of size, is sexist and betrays a very limited exposure to women who train. Untrained women will, of course, almost always be susceptible to a man and should always avoid bad situations, but they also shouldn't just give up. The way this quote sounds, it seems like he is just saying women should give up because they will never be able to defend themselves, and that simply isn't true.

Charles James said...

Actually, if anyone - male or female - is not training/practicing to combat a larger, stronger, meaner and more dedicated predator type opponent they are missing an important part of karate-jutsu, budo or martial arts .....

Michele said...

Rick/Charles James: Good advice!

Noah: I agree.

Thanks for commenting!

caterina said...

Not to pile on, but: a petite female black belt from our school was grabbed by the hair as she entered her college dormitory. As the story was told to me, she proceeded to correctly execute a hair break technique that gave her larger assailant a compound fracture of the wrist, so that he had to appear in court with his arm in a sling. I agree that it would be dangerous for anyone to assume that he or she could prevail against a bigger, stronger, attacker. But there is certainly no point in giving up ahead of time, either.

Michele said...

Caterina: Thanks for joining in the discussion and sharing your perspective!

Felicia said...

Sorry - but I think the comment from the security guard is so defeatest in nature that it sucks. What I get out of it is "there is no hope, so if acosted by a male evil-doer, just lay down on the ground because you are as good as dead anyway." Pffttttt to that noise.

I'm with you, Michele - in that awareness and avoidance are key for anyone - be they trained or untrained, male or female - but you and I have had this discussion before. The quiet secret is this: most women who are attacked are attacked by PEOPLE THEY ALREADY KNOW, not Chester the Molester jumping out from behind the bushes (which means she should have probably been more afraid of Mr. Security than the homeless dude on the corner, but...). That is why awareness - in that "trust your gut" sort of way - is so key.

I may even understand the security guard's premise - if, in fact, he was cautioning that we should always assume the adversary is bigger, stronger, faster and better trained than we are. But it just seems like he was saying there is no hope, which is THE absolute worse thing you can tell a person. Doing something is always, always always better than doing nothing.

What he should have said was SCREAM first, run the hell away next and if you can't do any of that aim the bony part of your palm to said attackers nose or cheek. And never let the bad guy take you to another location. That would have been sound advice - much better than the drivel he spouted. Sorry to rant, but that comment really, really ticks me off...

*stepping off my soapbox now*

Michele said...

Felicia: I was hoping you would join the discussion! You make important points...."most women are attacked by people they know" and the importance of "trusting your gut". Thanks for commenting.

Sana said...

This kind of dribble is defeatist
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