How would you structure a women's self-defense course?

Discussion in 'Women's Self Defence' started by hafer34, Nov 11, 2003.

  1. hafer34

    hafer34 New Member

    Whats up! I was just wondering if any of you had any ideas or class structures for a womens self-defense course. I am currently teaching one now and just looking for ideas to keep it interesting. So if you have any drills,games,ext let me know.Peace.
  2. aikijudo

    aikijudo Valued Member


    I read your post carefully, and would like to offer a few thoughts. Please accept my words in the kindness for which they are intended and offered.

    The only real difference between women and men is a bit of anatomy and physiology. The nuiances between men and women stem from these differences (A&P). Women have most, if not all of the same issues as men; the same emotional constructs and needs. (HUMAN) I discovered that they want to be treated the same, and be give the same opportunities that men are afforded in studying self-defense.

    I believe that if you try to treat them in a special or different way, they may see this as condescending and not appreciate your true intentions.

    I say these things based on my experiences. When I started teaching self-defense for women, I invited around a dozen women to my house for a general, roundtable/brainstorming discussion. I wanted to get an idea of how women think, and what their needs are with regards to self-defense. What could I do to best help them? And I was VERY enlightened.

    Try this yourself. Get a group of women together in a social setting; bribe them with a good dinner and just talk. There should be ample women available at the University; teachers and students alike. Ask them what they want, what they need, and I believe you will see that they have the same issues that men do, and they don't necessarily want to be treated any differently.

    I admire you very much for what you are doing. It is a noble effort.

    My best regards
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2003
  3. Matt_Bernius

    Matt_Bernius a student and a teacher

    Couple ideas assuming its a short course (a few hours):

    1. The majority of the time should be spend on the awareness, emotional, and psychological aspects of self defense. Get across the idea that most attacks begin emotionally and then psychologically before they get to the physical aspects. And that it's best if they can be defused before any technique needs to be thrown. Awareness is a key issue. Have them think about how they can evaluate their surroundings to see if they're safe. And get the to "trust" their hunches (ie. if you feel like someone is following you don't simply brush it aside as histeria).

    2. Get them to understand that they need to do whatever is necessary to get out of the situation. Introduce the idea of using makeshift weapons if need be (like pens/pencils) and nails. Stress that in a rapidly deteriorating situation they need to be prepared to strike first, not to wait for the attack. Make sure that everyone can come up with a reason that they would do what ever it takes to get home safely.

    3. Understand that any tecniques you teach are probably not going to really stick with them without practice. And they're realistically probably not going to get much practice. I'd suggest working on very simple and effective grab escapes. But the positive side is that successfully performing the techniques will give them confidence in their skills.

    4. Finally, please don't propigate the old "kick 'em once in the groin and they'll go down myth." IMHO it's one of the worst self defense myth's in today's culture (Thanks America's Funniest Home Videos). The fact is that when true adrenaline is pumping through an attacker's body they will probably shrug off that hit (unless a testicle is physically crushed). If someones banked everything on that technique working and it fails, it's going to mentally rattle them very badly.

    Hope this helps,

    - Matt
  4. KickChick

    KickChick Valued Member

    Well, yes & no

    My thoughts.....
    Most women off the street that step onto a dojang floor in order to learn to be physical have a hard time of it. For most women it does take time to unleash aggressiveness.... its due to being brought up differently then males.... sad but true sometimes.

    Women often have to defend themselves from often a bigger attacker, so they have to fight harder and smarter, just like a smaller male would.
    I love this quote from a member here "Evolution has lead us to think of what people think should be, rather than thinking of the evolution into what could be. If the women you know doesn't fight as hard and well as men of equal standing, that's because they are lead to believe they cannot, which is a shame.".... by SpongeBob

    We have further discussion on structuring a womens self defense class here in these threads
    SD class for women
    Womens Self Defense Falsehoods

    This is how we structured our Womens Self Defense Course:

    Being aware of your surroundings and being "switched on" is the most important factor of your personal safety. Learn easy to understand techniques of awareness & avoidance.

    Looking at how people stand, use their hands, and even gestures, can tell you alot about a person's intentions. Recognise these signs so you can be one step ahead.

    The power of the voice is widely overlooked when being taught self-defence. Yet this technique can have the same effect as striking someone.

    How not to misunderstand your fear and it's mental and physical characteristics. Learn how to utilise your fear and that adrenaline rush.

    How to generate maximum power in your strikes to stop an attacker

    Simple but effective techniques to help you get back up when attacked and brought to the ground.

    By law we cannot carry items that are specifically designed to injure. However you can use everday items such as, magazines, hairbrushes, pens, credit cards etc. to help you protect yourself.

    Advice on the law and some of it's implications when concerning self defence

    Basic advice can prevent you from a serious injury or worse
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2003
  5. Monty

    Monty Valued Member

    @rockOn_Matt and KickChick:

    Very well said !! :)

    .... and just a small idea for training:
    Just to make people realize that defending against a knife isn't a walk in the park, we use "blue knives".
    Those are wooden knives, where the "sharp edge" is pulled through blue chalk (used for masonry).
    That way the blue lines on their clothing will tell a lot louder than words just how dangerous a knife is.
    The chalk washes right out of the fabric, allowing your students to practice in plain clothes (another thing that is often neglected in self defense training).
    You can also use a red marker, and go for naked arms.
    (A naked arm defense against a knife is rarely seen here in Denmark though !) :)
  6. Boshiken

    Boshiken New Member

    Very well said kickchick, If you make the course into fun and games your losing site of your objective, to train woman to defend them selves. Not try to, but to do it.

    Remember an attacker doesn't care if the woman gets hurt.

    FBI crime statistics actually prove the more you resist the higher the chances for survival. So try to make the training real, with out scaring the woman. With some its a very fine line. Because no matter how real you train, it won't even come close to what happens in an actual attack.

    Good Luck and hope everything goes well..
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2003
  7. wayofthedragon

    wayofthedragon The Defender

    ahhh....womens self defense....that's just what we need. I'd encourage all women to learn self defense......
    one thing I think all women should learn is how to fight from the ground, in any situation, weather the opponet is standing, or on the ground with her.
  8. RMSeevers

    RMSeevers New Member

    I use to help out in my TKD/Hapkido instructors womens self-defense class. My instructor would pull a few students from his Hapkido class to be used as attackers. We couldn't throw the women but they can throw us, we were just used as dummies.
  9. Flashing Dagger

    Flashing Dagger Valued Member

    I've been reading the above discussion about Women's self-defense. Coincidentally something happened to my 21 year old sister at college recently. She lives on the university campus in Columbus, Ohio, which is not the safest place to be. Recently after a big football game her purse was stolen from her. She tried to hang on to it, but the mugger was the stronger one and she ended up on the ground. Luckily she was not seriously injured but she still feels like she was victimized. Since I study Kenpo she has asked me to recommend a martial art or self-defense course located in her area. I am unsure whether it is ok to recommend a general women's self-defense course. She needs some training in environmental awareness and also in self-defense techinques. I have stressed to her that without a commitment to long-term serious training, self-defense techinques may not be effective against a stronger attacker. I'm still looking around for a club for her. Any input?

    Flashing Dagger
  10. Matt_Bernius

    Matt_Bernius a student and a teacher

    Flashing Dagger,

    Sorry to hear about your sister's situation. Great thought process in trying to come up with a solution!

    You are right to be concerned about the need for long term training. One thing to do is see if you can find a program that you can visit with her to watch a class (or at least talk with the instructor).

    You can also check out to see if there are representatives from some modern self defense programs like Tony Blauer's PDR system in the area (for more info check out

    Hope this helps,

    - Matt
  11. Ghost Frog

    Ghost Frog New Member

    Very true. I was very happy to join straight into the main classes, as I was fairly confident, but I know that many women are very intimidated by mixed martial arts classes.

    We've started doing women's self defence classes separately now for that reason, bringing in token men from time to time for them to practise on. Some women then go onto train in the main classes as they become more confident.
  12. aml01_ph

    aml01_ph Urrgggh...

    Very good points by Kickchick. A woman is just a person like a man, although they may have different motivations due to background (social, cultural, economic,genetic...). However, the method that works for a man, may not work for a woman.
    First, a man is generally stronger. The moves a woman may make against a man may not work just because of sheer power. Out goes grappling for a woman.
    Two, a man is generally taller and/or larger. Unless a woman resides in a society where the men are generally the same height as she is, her reach would be handicapped. Out goes those high kicks.
    Three, a man inspires fear more than a woman. A man can make an individual afraid just by looking like it. A woman has to demonstrate her ferocity.

    The solution: fight dirty, especially if its you or him. Go for the eyes. Go for the neck. Bite his ear. You get the picture.
  13. DarkDragonFly

    DarkDragonFly New Member

    hmmm very interesting posts all... in my style we do alot of self defence but we also have nitty gritty of offence, we do alot physical hits and strikes with both sexes, i have seen many a fight in a dowtown karoake bar between two women so dont think its just the men that try to attack women!!!
  14. LovernotFighter

    LovernotFighter New Member

    apply now

    groin sacking 101

    seminars: The areas men did not want you to know about
  15. surgingshark

    surgingshark Valued Member

    Oh, boy...*buys titanium protective cup*
  16. bcullen

    bcullen They are all perfect.

    Great advice Matt. But I'm not all the way with you on #4.

    I agree that it's too often used as panacea for self-defense.
    Groin strikes are very debilitating unless the attacker is on drugs (including alcohol, a very strong pain killer) or otherwise out of touch with reality. But there are two problems: Groin strikes have a delayed effect, you have around 1-2 seconds before the pain hits, so if your attacker is in a position to harm you and you use a groin strike it may just give him an incentive to kill you right now.
    The second problem is that men are very protective of that area. It's not going to be easy to get a shot at it. Personal story to illustrate this point: I was at a club just hanging out and turned around just in time to see a hand going for my crotch. I blocked with my left, locked the elbow with my right and spun to the right throwing my attacker onto the dance floor. At this point I realized that my attacker was a female and was an admirer not an assailant. I had tweeked her elbow a little and she was stunned but o.k. (man, did I feel like an a**hole).
  17. Matt_Bernius

    Matt_Bernius a student and a teacher

    And I hope that you understand that I have to disagree. Groin strikes are definitely painful. No argument there. But clothing and other factors (such as adrenaline) can help lessen the impact. And I know from presonal experience that they are not necessarily debilitating. I've been hit in the groin almost full out and been able to keep going.

    I've talked with other people who have been hit in the groin in fights. It hurt them, and it made them angry but it sure didn't put them down.

    Now a crushed testicle, that's a different thing.

    - Matt
  18. bcullen

    bcullen They are all perfect.

    Actually, I can understand: Now that I think about it. I've taken some pretty serious injuires and not even realized it till the adrenaline wore off.
  19. royjudo

    royjudo New Member

    This is very interesting reading, but awareness mentally of situations is more benificial than the physical element.
  20. Matt_Bernius

    Matt_Bernius a student and a teacher

    Bingo. People get stabbed and not realize it. Adrenaline is a wonderful and deadly thing. There are a lot of things that we have been conditioned to think will stop us that don't necessarily have to.

    Agreed. The most important self defense lessons are awareness. Any techniques that are taught need to be simple and used to back up awareness. The great thing about teaching technique is that it helps build the confidence that is necessary to support that afor mentioned awareness.

    - Matt

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