Guidelines for Choosing a Self Defense Course

Discussion in 'Women's Self Defence' started by KickChick, Nov 7, 2003.

  1. KickChick

    KickChick Valued Member

    Ideally, a good self-defense program should reflect these
    philosophical points in its outlook

    1) No one asks for, causes, invites, or deserves to be assaulted. Women and men sometimes exercise poor judgment about safety behavior, but that does not make them responsible for the attack. Attackers are responsible for their attacks and their use of violence to overpower, control and abuse another human being.

    2) Whatever a person's decision in a given self-defense situation, whatever action she/he does or does not take, that person is not at fault. Someone's decision to survive the best way she can must be respected. Self-defense classes should not be used as a judgment against a victim/survivor.

    3) Good self-defense programs do not "tell" an individual what she "should" or "should not" do. A program should offer options, techniques, and a way of analyzing situations. A program may point out what USUALLY works best in MOST situations, but each situation is unique and the final decision rests with the person actually confronted by the situation.

    4) Empowerment is the goal of a good self-defense program. The individual's right to make decisions about her participation must be respected. Pressure should not be brought to bear in any way to get someone to participate in an activity if she's hesitant or unwilling.


    Questions to ask when evaluating a self-defense course
    1. What is self-defense?

    Self-defense is a set of awareness, assertiveness, verbal confrontation skills with safety strategies and physical techniques that enable someone to successfully escape, resist and survive violent attacks. A good self-defense course provides psychological awareness and verbal skills, not just physical training.

    2. Does self-defense work?

    Yes. Self-Defense training can increase your options and help you prepare responses to slow down, de-escalate, or interrupt an attack. Like any tool, the more you know about it, the more informed you are to make a decision and to use it.

    3. Is self-defense a guarantee?

    No. There are no guarantees when it comes to self-protection. However, self-defense training can increase your choices/options and your preparedness.

    4. Is there a standard self-defense course?

    No. There are many formats for training. They may be as short as two hours or as long as 8 weeks or a semester. Whatever the length of the program, it should be based on maximizing options, simple techniques, and respect for individuals' experiences.

    5. Is there a course I should stay away from?

    Only you can answer this question. Find out about the philosophy of the program and the background of the instructor. Observe a class session if you can, and talk to an instructor or a student. Is the instructor knowledgeable and respectful of your concerns? Is it a length at you can commit to and at a cost that you can afford? You deserve to have all your questions answered before taking a class.

    6. Who's better, a male or female Instructor?

    For women, there is an advantage to having a female instructor as a role model, who has similar experiences surviving as a woman. All-woman classes tend to provide an easier atmosphere in which to discuss sensitive issues. On the other hand, some women feel having male partners to practice with can add to their experience. The quality of a class depends on the knowledge, attitude and philosophy of the instructor, not necessarily on gender. The most important aspect is that the instructor, male or female, conducts the training for the students geared to their individual strengths and abilities. Feeling safe and building trust come before learning.

    7. Must I train for years to learn to defend myself?

    No. A basic course can offer enough concepts and skills to help you develop self-protection strategies that you can continue to build upon. Self-defense is not karate or martial arts training. It does not require years of study to perfect. Many people have successfully improvised and prevented an assault who have never taken a class. People often practice successful self-defense strategies without knowing it!

    8. If I use physical self-defense could I get hurt worse?

    The question to answer first is what does "hurt worse" mean? Rape survivors speak eloquently about emotional hurts lasting long after physical hurts heal. Studies show a physical self-defense response does not increase the level of physical injury, and sometimes decreases the likelihood. Also, going along with the attacker does not guarantee that you will not be brutally injured anyway. The point of using self-defense is to de-escalate a situation and get away as soon as possible. Knowing some physical techniques increases the range of possible self-defense options, but the decision to choose a physical option must remain with the person in the situation.

    9. What does "realistic" mean?

    Words like "most realistic", "best", "guaranteed success", etc., are all advertising gimmicks. Choosing a self-defense class is a serious decision and is preferably based on some research. No program or instructor can replicate a "real" assault since there are so many different scenarios, and because a real attack would require a no-holds barred fight which would be irresponsible and extremely dangerous to enact. Responsible self-defense training requires control. It is important that each student is able to control her own participation in the class and never feel forced to participate.

    10. What is the role of mace or other aggressive "devices" as self-defense aids in harming an attacker?

    Any device is useless to you unless you understand how to use it, and you have it in your hand ready to use at the time of the attempted assault. There is nothing "guaranteed" about any of these devices. None are foolproof. None of them can be counted on to work against all possible attackers (no matter what the labeling may state to the contrary). Realize that anything you can use against an attacker can also be taken away and used against you. While some of these devices have sometimes helped women escape to safety, it is important to be aware of their limitations and liabilities.

    11. How much should I pay?

    Paying a lot of money for a course does not mean that you automatically get better instruction. On the other hand, don't assume that all programs are the same and just go for the cheapest. It is always beneficial to be an educated consumer. Shop around the same as for anything else you buy that is important to you.

    12. Where can I find a self-defense class?

    Check with your local rape crisis center. Some centers provide self-protection classes or can refer you to one. YWCA's and Community Colleges sometimes offer classes. Some martial arts schools provide seminars and workshops. Check the phone book. If there isn't one in your community, get involved and try to organize one.

    13. Am I too old? Out of shape? What if I have some disabilities?

    You don't have to be an athlete to learn how to defend yourself. A good program is designed to adapt to every age and ability and provides each student with the opportunity to learn. Each individual is unique and students should be able to discuss their own needs. Some programs have specialized classes for specific groups.

    14. How can I tell a "good" course from a "bad" one?

    A good course covers critical thinking about defense strategies, assertiveness, powerful communication skills, and easy-to-remember physical techniques. The instructor respects and responds to your fears and concerns. Instruction is based on the belief that we can act competently, decisively, and take action for our own protection. Essentially, a good course is based on intelligence and not muscle. It offers tools for enabling a person to connect with her own strength and power. These courses are out there.

    Prepared for the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault
    by the NCASA Self-Defense AD-HOC Committee
    NCASA encourages the dissemination
    of this material with attribution to:
    National Coalition Against Sexual Assault
    P.O. Box 21378
    Washington, DC 20009

    What do you all think about these guidelines?
  2. hkphooey

    hkphooey New Member

    KC, I like your thinking and I hope it wears onto your students. Many times have I had a female (sometimes a male) argue with me that you shouldn't tell women to adjust/watch their behaviour. They argue on the grounds that if a women wants to walk in the worst area of town alone in a drunken stuper then you can't tell them not to because you're trying to take their rights away and say they're not allowed to. The difference between good and bad choices can be making home safely or being raped and/or murdered. And it applies to men as much as women. Just because we have the right to do something doesn't mean it would be a wise decision to do so.
    Self Awareness can be 90% of your Self Defense.

    Good post.
  3. WingChun Lawyer

    WingChun Lawyer Modesty forbids more.


    I agree with most of what you said, but I would like to add the following comments (bearing in mind that my only experience in self defense was watching a krav magah class - those are only my two cents).

    About item 4, above, I agree with the letter of your statement, but not with the possible consequences. Let me explain. I believe no one should be pressured into doing something they don´t want to do (that IS the purpose of the self defense course, after all), but getting rough on people is, in my humble opinion, maybe the best way to prepare someone for a situation when someone...well, will get rough on them.

    So, regarding violent activities in a women´s self defense course, I believe women who participate should be told very clearly that they need to do such activities (sparring, etc) in order to get ready for a real encounter. If you don´t want to do it, fine, no one is forcing you to do that, but this activity is necessary to develop such and such skills.

    There is a fine line to walk between maintaining a friendly atmosphere to deal with a touchy subject (which is necessary, no arguments here) and creating a feel good, everyone´s a winner atmosphere which may foster unreasonable feelings of self confidence - feelings that may very well crumble to dust at the first curse a woman hears from a real attacker. Quite frankly, my girlfriend is interested in doing a self defense course, and I would hate it if she thought she was some kind of Bruce Lee in skirts after a couple of classes.

    As for item 6, I suppose I agree with you about the instructor´s gender (as I said, I have no experience in the area), but I do believe it is absolutely necessary for the women involved to do exercises and sparring with male partners, specially male partners who will get rough on them. The most likely attacker is male, after all, and a woman interested in self defense MUST learn enough to acknowledge a man´s superior upper body strength, as she must learn the limits of a man´s strength and how to deal with it.

    Last but not least, she must learn how to deal with a man´s aggressiveness - she must be cursed, called names, and in general be dealt with in a non-friendly manner by her male training partner. That is why I believe all such courses should be include a male sparring instructor (or, at least, partner) who is willing to push the female participants to their emotional (if not physical) limits.

    Again, just my two cents.
  4. Timmy Boy

    Timmy Boy Man on a Mission

    I'm not a woman (lol) as you may have guessed, but I am in agreement with the points you made. I picked out this one because it's something people often miss. Victims are too often blamed for their attack, e.g. blokes are told that they shouldn't have been in the rough part of town, women are told they shouldn't have been wearing short skirts... it's as if irrational, base, animalistic and impulsive behaviour is justified by your choice of clothing.

    Another excellent point I think that you made was about self defence training being different to martial arts training. I haven't done it myself so obviously you know way more than me but I imagine the physical side of it involves mainly simple close-range moves that would work better for self defence as opposed to an arranged fight. After all, part of self defence is avoiding the situation in the first place, so if you are using your skills as a last resort it will be when they're right up close and there's no way out.
  5. cxw

    cxw Valued Member

    What about the legal issues? Such as
    - At what point are you allowed to physically strike, throw etc.
    - If you successfuly get away, what should you do in terms of reporting the offense to the police?
    - If you get beaten/raped, what are the best steps to increase the likelihood of your attacker getting caught.

    Hard sparring is a must. Preferably against men who are heavier, taller and stronger.

    In terms of the physical aspect - what advantages is there over good sports based arts? I can understand that the RBSD courses bring in useful pre and post conflict issues, but in terms of the mechanics of fighting, what does this bring.
  6. areusafe

    areusafe New Member

    HiYa Group,

    Hey KickChick,

    Dead on it...

    WAY to many charlatans out there.
  7. Pete Ticali

    Pete Ticali Valued Member

    Excellent post(s)

    Regarding the Male vs. Female instructor; it is my assumption that this is addressed to the "participant". Because of that I would like to say that "in my opinion" it should not be your deciding factor.

    I think I speak for other instructors when I say that I would not choose he person to run a class/program like this in my school based solely on their gender. Good instructors who know the subject matter can be both Male or female.

    The participants "comfort level" should be balanced. Are we "polling" on the way in, or on the way out. I prefer the way out!

    Personally, I prefer to have males "in' my programs. No; I don't mean what you think!.. I feel women are more than likely going to have to defend themselves from males and lets face facts; this is an "uncomfortable" sunject for the new participant. I want to use that discomfort to their advantage.

    We use the tools we have. In this case we need to guide the participant through some "behavioral changes" as well as physical changes. Otherwise we risk creating "too" safe an environment that does not empower. Many women (even in 2005) need to know they are equally capable of defending themselves. They need to understand that we use the tools we have, and the secret lies in discovering them and merging them with both reflexive muscle memory and environmental awareness training.

    In many ways women are superior to men in this regard. They need to know (especially for self defense classes) that they can use their tools for significant benefit.

    Pete Ticali
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2005
  8. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Excellent guidelines from NCASA. :)

    I am not sure if this was included in the guidelines but I have found that good self-defense programs also educate on criminal behavior and use plenty of case-studies and real incidents to illustrate.

    For instance, a course might have hand outs and bring in law enforcement officers to lecture along with hands on stuff. Some things that might be discussed would be better tactics on what to do and be prepared if your car breaks down on the side of the road in a deserted area. Such things like having an envelop with some change in it for a pay phone and a note with the number to call and what to say on it, this way you can just crack your window open just a bit when some stranger comes to help and slip the envelope to them and tell them to call the number for help.

    Or what the police procedures are for pulling someone over, what legal options you have. This type of information can be valuable if you are on a deserted road and get pulled over. For instance, the local police where I live will not pull you over with an unmarked car on some deserted road, they will almost always call in a black and white. If pulled over by an unmarked car, you can insist that a black and white comes, etc. This is to protect you from criminals impersonating police on some deserted road.

    A few examples among many such things.

    I guess what I am saying is there is much more than the physical aspect to self-defense. Look for an education along with hands on. If not from one course, ask for recommendations from the instructor of what other resources are available to suppliment the course. I recommend courses run by law enforcement agencies, usually available to companies and communities.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2005
  9. tellner

    tellner Valued Member

    Wow. Great stuff. We used to link to NCASA's website, but it stopped getting updated and a bunch of links got stale. Has it been revived?

    Just a few thoughts...

    I'm torn on this one, but must respectfully disagree in the end. There are things people are reluctant to do that may be extremely important. Overcoming fear and inhibitions may be the one vital step that keeps student alive.

    Belittlement and abuse are completely inappropriate. An ethical teacher will not use them. But there are other things an instructor can do to get a student to participate when the student would otherwise be uncomfortable or hesitant. Good self defense is about empowerment, not technique. Part of that is learning to claim your power when you don't want to or don't think you can. A teacher who doesn't en-courage hasn't acted ethically towards the student.

    Again, this is very true. But a couple observations may be helpful. For years we tried teaching verbal deterrence and de-escalation before physical resistance. It was a uniform failure. Part of that is, obviously, that we weren't very good at it. Another part was the poor preparation we gave the students. Without some confidence they were unable to convince themselves that they could enforce their boundaries. A lot of the awareness skills didn't take, either.

    When we started the physical curriculum first there was an amazing change. Once they learned that they could do things they hadn't believed they could and had solid physical proof of it the subtler stuff was easy. When they knew they had the means of enforcing their boundaries they believed in those boundaries. And, having experienced force and some aggression from the inside, they were better able to deal with it coming from someone else.

    Honestly, it's more about attitude than anything else. Showing up for the encounter ready and willing to do whatever it takes to protect yourself - running, yelling, de-escalating, tricking, fighting or whatever is the single most important thing. The rest is just skills. "Attitude without technique beats technique without attitude."

    You could safely state this a lot more strongly. In every study a team of researches and I could find over about twenty years the results were the same. Going along with the attacker did not decrease the chances of harm. Pleading, begging, crying and other so-called passive strategies may even increase the chances of a completed crime.

    Resistance and flight decreased that sad figure dramatically. A 90% chance of completed rape dropped to between 20 and 40%, and that 40% had some serious built-in problems.

    In the very few studies done on the order of resistance and injury it turns out that the most serious injury almost without exception came before resistance. In other words, most of the time getting hurt may have inspired action instead of being the result. And it has to be weighed against the decreased chance of being raped.

    There are no guarantees, and each situation is different. The person actually in the situation has access to information that no second-guesser ever will. But the best information we can come up with shows that there is nothing to be lost and everything to be gained from considering the more physically active options.

    Nothing is foolproof. And anyone who places her faith in lifeless object is probably making a mistake. That said, we do know a few things. A defender who strongly presents and is willing to use effective lethal force is more likely than anyone else to prevent serious violent crimes from being completed against her. The chance of having it "taken away and used against you" is miniscule if you are trained and prepared to use, for instance, a knife or gun.

    You are the weapon. The rest are just tools. But some tools do demonstrably work better than others. There are advantages as well as disadvantages to that choice.

    Mostly very, very good. I understand where you're coming from on the rest, but it would be dishonest not to share the disagreements.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2005
  10. ubermint

    ubermint Banned Banned

    One thing i'd like to add, on the physical side of things:

    Look for a program that includes groundfighting. Things like basic escapes from mount (Bridging, shrimping), guardwork (you are on your back but controlling attacker with your legs), upkicking, how to stand quickly, all taught by a credible grappler.
    This is because oftentimes a woman will find themselves on the ground, bed or couch if someone tries to rape them.

    Another q&a:

    Q: Does size and strength matter?
    A: Yes! Good technique and conditioning can negate that difference, but anyone who tells you that it's not a big factor is feeding you a line.
  11. tellner

    tellner Valued Member

    The physical techniques you mention are good ones. We teach them. But groundwork in self defense is a lot different than in the sports or martial arts you do.

    First, ground grappling is the place where size and strength matter the most. It can't be ignored, but concentrating on the stuff that has the lowest percentage of success isn't usually the most productive strategy. For instance, striking while on the ground is vital to self defense. It's important but less so in MMA competition.

    Second, there is no referee here to break things up when someone taps. This isn't about getting an advantageous position and holding the opponent there until someone says "You won!" It's about being able to hurt him enough so that he can't come after you, slowing him down enough so that you can escape, or convincing him to give it up and run away.

    Third, a credible grappler may be the worst person in the world to teach a self defense class. His or her training, inclination, natural gifts, ring experience style of teaching - the things that make him or her a champion - are geared towards certain goals and situations. The needs of a self defense class are often quite different.

    Almost all aggravated assaults, homicides and sexual assaults are committed by acquaintances. So is a surprisingly high fraction of robberies. Recognizing what is going on quickly, picking a good thing to do, then getting the hell out of there has its own logic. It's different than winning in the ring.

    And so on. I would never deny the importance of good training including groundwork, which includes but is not limited to submission wrestling. We all see things through the lenses of our own specialty. You may well be doing that here.

    Now that is a wrong answer. This is not about getting someone to tap or winning a fight. It's about preventing a crime. The dynamics are very different. The things that lead to desirable outcomes are, too. Technique is useful, but it's in fourth or fifth place in the scheme of things. Size and strength are at least down there.

    Let's put it another way. You're thinking in terms of winning a fight. A fight is a contest where two or more guys pug with each other according to the unwritten primate code to achieve dominance. Self defense is about doing what you need to to be safe and unhurt at the end of the day.

    The research, and we have an awful lot of it, is unanimous. Resistance works. Running works. Yelling and swearing work. Size and strength don't hardly factor in to it in the real world.

    The physical part of this isn't half an hour in the octagon carefully escaping a mount into the guard, passing the guard and getting knee - on - abdomen. It's more often something about her that "just don't seem right" to an attacker, a look, the shock of cornering a small rodent and watching it turn into a rabid chainsaw, expecting "help" and getting "You son of a *****! I'm going to ******* rip your ******* **** off!". It's taking the stuff that always worked for the criminal in the past and making it not work.

    If you tell students "Being big and strong is where it's at. If you aren't big and strong you're going to lose" practically guarantees that they will. If they believe they can succeed and are willing to do their level best there's a very good chance they will, regardless. And they'll probably do it in ways you would never imagine.
  12. ubermint

    ubermint Banned Banned

    AAAAAAaaaannndddd for your opening gambit, you immediately reveal that you know next to nothing about groundfighting. Way to throw the fight there, kiddo.

    Groundgrappling is a *learned* skill. It comes naturally to literally noone. You can find many videos of smaller grapplers defeating larger strikers. The opposite is not true.

    How is guardwork, shrimping and bridging "low success"?

    Ground striking is vital in MMA too...or have you never heard of GnP?

    I just love how not only do you misinterpret my arguement, you just run with your misinterpretation.

    Not once did I even mention submissions (besides basic choke escapes). I said that in order for a woman to be able to escape, she's going to need to know how to use defensive grappling.

    Are you simply assuming grapplers are all clinically retarded, or what?

    The reason the grappling instructor should be credible is because he or she will have experience escaping from a strong opponent. It's even better if this person has MMA fights under their belt, because then they'll be experienced defending strikes from there as well.

    Yay for putting words in my mouth!

    I'm you seriously believe that?

    All right. Who would you rather be attacked by: A 150#, wiry dude, or Bob Sapp?

    Because, as we all know, rapists are deathly allergic to swearing.

    Shrimping, bridging...both these skills are very applicable to self defense and also (Shock!) used often in MMA competitions. Any "rape defense" course that doesn't use them is hardly teaching the complete (physical) picture

    Straw man arguements are fun and rewarding, aren't they?
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2005
  13. tellner

    tellner Valued Member

    Nope. I know it's a learned set of skills. It has its advantages and limitations. For a while good grapplers consistently won in the ring against good strikers because their stuff was new. Now the people who do the best in competition are very good at one and good enough at the other to make the other guy play their game.

    You aren't being misinterpreted here. Nor is anyone saying that competence on the ground isn't important. Nor should stand-up grappling be neglected. Submission wrestling can be very difficult thing that requires a lot of complex skills. You will also notice that I said that the techniques you mention are excellent ones, although the typical differences between men and women require that they be modified for a women's self defense program.

    The issue here is that a number of other factors make ground work in a self defense situation different than it is in a sports competition. The same thing is true of stand up grappling or stand up striking. Skills derived from martial arts of various sorts are important components of a self defense program. How they are taught, what is taught, what they will be used for, goals and many other things change what you have to do as a teacher or be aware of as a student.

    I'm afraid you're suffering from some serious assumptions here. Take a look at what I wrote. The things that make a person an excellent coach in one field are often not the same things that are needed in another. In fact, they may work against him or her in the new arena. We're already agreed that some of the defensive ground grappling basics have a lot to offer a self defense program and even which ones. Let's take a look at how assumptions and conditions can change things.

    For instance, let's look at the students. The typical person who works out at an MMA gym is late teens to early twenties, a guy, strong, aggressive, in good condition - or at least thinks he is until he spends half an hour rolling with someone who really is. He'll keep at it for many hours every week until he reaches a level of success in competition he's comfortable with and can maintain.

    He's going to be competing for prizes with people pretty much like him for prizes and fame for a few years. After he reaches a certain level he'll probably quit or make it a hobby.

    There are ways to teach and motivate people like this. A good coach knows them.

    The typical woman in a WSD program is in a much different situation. She could be any age or condition. She will be motivated, at least in the beginning, much more by fear of injury or crime than anything else. She'll have to integrate what she learns into whatever she does and have them on hand for the rest of her life. She won't know when they'll be useful if ever. The matches aren't going to be scheduled. There isn't going to be a pre-fight look at videos of everything her attacker has done. Her life won't revolve around her training schedule which will almost certainly end pretty quickly.

    The way you teach and motivate her will have to be different. Experience in the ring is one useful thing to bring to the table as a trainer, but it won't be as important as some a lot of other things designed to optimize her performance under different conditions.

    As a matter of fact, they very often are. like I said, we've got a lot of research on crime, victim strategy and outcomes now. Good research is how "as we all know" turns into "what we used to think".

    We all used to know that wrestling was a funky looking sport you did in high school, but it wasn't useful in a real fight like boxing or karate. People like the Gracies did the research and came up with results that surprised everyone.

    We all used to know that screaming or being reasonable was the best thing you could do with your mouth to stop a rapist. The people who spend their lives studying this sort of thing have found out differently in study after study.

    When you go into the octagon you know what to expect. So does the other guy. You're both there because you want to be there, and nobody's leaving until one of you submits, the ref stops the match or time runs out. Most of the time the fans are there to see a good fight, so you'll be matched with someone who's close to where you are.

    Sometimes self defense is convincing the criminal that whatever he wants isn't worth what he's going to have to pay to get it. The "fight card" has been chosen by the bad guy specifically to be a mismatch. Maybe he can fight, but he's not looking for that when he goes after a woman. He wants high payoff with low effort. Something as simple as getting in his face and swearing when he expected quiet and begging really can be what makes the difference.
  14. ubermint

    ubermint Banned Banned

    You made the statement that "strength matters the most in grappling [more than for striking]".
    This is patently false. We have many examples of skilled but small grapplers beating unskilled but large strikers.
    The same is not true for striking. Yes, they exist, but they're far rarer than the grappling equivalent.

    For instance?

    That's all fine and dandy, but just two posts up you were saying this:

    Which makes no sense.

    I said nothing about motivation here. What i'm talking about is the technique itself. An experienced MMA fighter is going to know exactly how, for instance, to escape mount when someone's trying to punch or choke you, because they've been in that situation many times and are thus working from a practical, non-theoretical viewpoint.
    This is a huge advantage.

    I'd just like to note that my BJJ coach does a damn good job of teaching and motivating the female students without changing very much from the way he teaches men.

    Alright. Show me the relevant statistic and i'll concede the point that a large number of rapists are, indeed, idiots.

    I concede that this is theoretically possible, though not something to rely on. Mostly I was making fun of your overblown, str33tlethal wording here:

    In particurlar, the nonsensical "rabid chainsaw" metaphor and the implied assumption that MMA training will not allow you to accomplish this hydrophobic logging equipment transformation.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 9, 2005
  15. Matt_Bernius

    Matt_Bernius a student and a teacher

    He actually made the statement that Size and Strength matter in grappling. The fact is he's right. There typically is a weight disparity between men and women. Assuming that the woman has been taken to the ground by the man, and he ends up on top of here (either in or outside of her guard) she will have to deal with the weight difference as part of the escape.

    Further the key word above in your arguement is "skilled." There are women and men who have made the choice to become quite skilled in grappling arts. And there are those who do not. The average participant in a self defense program is most likely not prepared to make the type of commitment necessary to achive a sufficent level of skill to make it synonymous with your example. Some might choose to based on a positive experience, but that isn't going to be the case for all.

    As far as the GnP scenario, when you're on your back GnP is a heck of a lot harder than when you're on top. If we consider the usual start point as the woman is usually defending from her back as an attacker's on top of her, the no striking isn't the most important factor. Once she learns to roll him, it's another matter. But on that tellner has already agreed that basic "get up" skills need to be taught. And I don't think any credible SD program isn't going to discuss striking from the mount as an option to help one get to their feet. So I don't see what the issue is here.

    On the issue of a credible grappler, or any other teacher for that matter, the important thing is that they are trained to teach for a scenario. Having grappling skills is great and CAN be a good advantage provided that they have experience understanding other aspects of self defense. Frankly, I would rather have a well trained self defense instructor with good basic grappling skills than an expert grappler who doesn't understand the ins and outs of self defense.

    That's great. That isn't necessarily the case for everyone. We can never assume that our instructor (or ourselves for that matter) are the norm.

    I'm hoping tellner will post his research as I'm interested in that as well. However, from all of the reading that I have done, the evidence is in his favor. The general rule is that there are two major things most attackers fear (excluding those who are mentally imbalanced):

    1. Getting hurt
    2. Getting caught

    An opponent who offers resistance, be it verbal or physical, triggers one or both of those fears. Hence, yes the strong verbal resistance is an important component of any self defense program.

    Actually I think the case was that there is more than one way to get to this point (and while a little strangely worded I completely agree with the idea). Of course MMA can get you there. But like any tool, it isn't perfect for every situation. There's no reason a solid Woman's self defense program can't do the same thing.

    Look Uber, no one is doubting the effectiveness of MMA. If you go back you should see that. However, we are saying that there are other, equally valid methods of teaching Self Defense. If you have issue with that please bring researched evidence and not sniping and rather pointed arguements.

    - Matt
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2005
  16. ubermint

    ubermint Banned Banned

    He said the following...

    ...which is patently false.

    Yes. The same is true in striking. Weight disparity is present in all aspects of physical self defense. I fail to see the relevance.

    Sure, but again, this is also true for striking. It's no easier to teach a woman to KO a man with any kind of strike (or even "stun" him) than it is to teach her to choke him out.

    I would add to that basic guard sweeps, probably scissors and hip heist, plus the related area of defending stomps/sweeping someone who hovers over you. Upkicking too.

    You'd be surprised.

    I'd rather have someone who has a lot of experience applying his stuff on resisting opponents. But that's just me.

    I don't understand exactly how or why you'd "teach" someone to swear like a sailor and yell. Maybe it'd be neccesary for a very reppressed soccer mom, but I can't see it being much of an issue for the average person. Maybe the women i've known have all been exceptional, but most of them can do that already.

    Except I didn't say "Go learn MMA!" (although that's an excellent option).

    My point is something pretty basic, and has nothing to do with being an MMA nutrider. For good physical self defense you must:

    A) Train with full resistance

    B) Cover all three ranges

    Yet if you look at the current state of women's self defense, usually neither happens. It's all prescripted scenarios with unrealistically proportioned padded attackers (and yes, the guys in the suits are letting the women win) and the kind of "defenses" to being pinned that you usually find in an "anti-grappling" course. Now of course a rape victime won't be fighting off randy couture, but most of the ground "defenses" I see I don't think would work on a drunken good-ol-boy, nevermind someone who wrestled in high school.

    For instance, in meredith gold's latest article there are no less than three eye gouge escapes from various mounts. The rest seems to be a collection of attacks to the nuts. No exxageration. Out of 8 attacks, 7 of the defenses were strikes to the nuts or eye gouging.

    It strikes me as using the wrong tool for the job. Basic bridging or shrimping seems a far more reliable defense than eye gouging here.
  17. KickChick

    KickChick Valued Member

    I started this whole thread purely to offer some assistance to women with no intention of it developing into a debate over "size matters" or whether or not a woman should locate an instructor who is a "skilled grappler" ....

    Tellner ... thank you for your contribution to this thread. Good posts!

    Ubermint you brought up some good points regarding groundfighting early on ie. learning basic escapes from mount, guardwork, upkicking, how to stand quickly....

    For certain techniques it doesn't matter how big or strong the other person is. Eye gouging, jabbing the throat, locking back the knee, etc.... size won't matter.
    But clearly there are certain circumstances where size does matter where you will need to learn how to adjust your techniqes to the situation at hand.

    If I'm defending myself against a guy twice my strength and size, I'm NOT going to stand there and attempt to trade punches with him. I'm not going to use strength moves, but instead opt to use soft tissue techniques (no matter how strong you are, your muscles will NOT cover the trachea) and I will NOT close with him until I have him stunned or off balance, because if he grabs me, I'm in trouble. Learning NOT to go to the ground is just as, if not MORE important than learning to defend yourself on the ground.

    Most men will rely on their size when attacking a woman.... and most guys don't need much more than that to get what they want, especially the type of man who would attack you on the street. And since you can't beat them at size, you have to beat them at brains.

    You do what is necessary to keep yourself from being hurt.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2005
  18. tellner

    tellner Valued Member

    This leads to a question which might be better off in another thread. Please move it if it is. Since most of the attacks on women are done by men they know, do you think classes which have a confrontation component should put male assistants and instructors in those roles? Is it better to use a fresh unknown attacker or have the students deal with the betrayal and "I thought I knew him" issues?
  19. Matt_Bernius

    Matt_Bernius a student and a teacher

    I think, what we call can agree on, is that training as realistically as possible, with increasing resistance is the way to go. Provided that the method covers that and is optimized to the teaching situation, then it's a great start for a program.

    Beyond that, it's clear that we have our own ideologies based on our experiences.

    - Matt
  20. ubermint

    ubermint Banned Banned

    Yet these things are relevant.

    Size and strength always matter. As a small person, I can tell you this from personal experience. I don't care how many "soft tissue attacks" you know, you can't hurt bob sapp.

    Size doesn't matter very much, but strength does. You have to be in a good position to execute those techniques (none of them, for instance, work from under mount, even an unskilled person's mount).
    For instance, you are attempting an eye gouge but the gouge is intercepted by your wrist being grabbed. Congratulations, you're in a "strength matters" situation.
    And I do believe that leg strength affects your ability to hurt the kneecap, nevermind wether that's a truly practical attack.


    I'm not sure about that. I've met some guys with very well conditioned throats and necks.

    And technically, every technique uses strength. Strength is the force of your muscles, and for every action you must use your muscles. Therefore, you cannot perform a technique without using strength.

    Why close with him at all? If you're that far away, shouldn't you be running away at this point?

    How exactly do you do that? Oh, you mean sprawling?

    Correct, but I don't think it's as easy as you make it out to be.

    I'd like to put out an idea I had to test many of these ideas. I'd like to someday meet a graduate of a women's self defense at my gym, put on MMA gloves and attack her with hard (but not full) contact. I will not use a single technique from my training, but will only use things we've all agreed are unskilled (haymakers, football tackles, headlocks, etc.). The woman may use any technique from her training to disable me. If she can't hurt me, at 150 pounds, then I think we can conclude that things won't go too great when she's seized by the banjo player from Deliverance.

    You do what is necessary to keep yourself from being hurt.[/QUOTE]

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