Martial Arts styles that are better for women for Self Defense? {Split from Stories}

Discussion in 'Women's Self Defence' started by Jesh, Oct 22, 2005.

  1. Jesh

    Jesh Dutch Side Of The Force

    So do many other systems/styles... let's not use this opportunity to promote our own thing.
  2. tellner

    tellner Valued Member

    Excellent advice. What Jesh said. Besides, at the beginning stages "martial arts" aren't great for "women's self defense". Later on, certainly. But the learning curve is a factor.
  3. firecoins

    firecoins Armchair General

    Thats so true. But you do have to start somewhere I guess. what should people do as beginners to get the self defense aspect down?
  4. Playful Giant

    Playful Giant Banned Banned

    There aren't many styles that are better for women!! Most martial arts - karate, jiu jitsu, kickboxing, tae kwondo produce women martial artists of good quality. However, put them in a ring with a male opponent of equal training and they would get beaten. It's not sexist, I have just seen it time and again. There may be some exceptions but I have yet to see them

    I am not trying to promote my own art, I am just saying that wing chun was designed specifically for women. The women who go to our federation give us guys a good run for our money! It is one of the only arts where use of the hips and the lack of strength vs. strength play a huge part, which is perfect for the female of the species

    I have known many attacks on women - one of my work colleagues was attacked last Thursday!! There are many women's defence groups that teach nonsense. The 'kick him in the balls' and run is extremely dangerous for women to put into practice because it often leads to loss of footing in a struggle
  5. Matt_Bernius

    Matt_Bernius a student and a teacher

    But there is a significant difference between an officiated prearanged fight and a self defense situation. I can find alots of excellent examples of women from different martial background successfully defending themselves (and unsuccessfully as well).

    The general rule, the more "live" resistance training in a system, the better prepared it's practitioners are to defend themselves. Again, training methodology is FAR FAR FAR more important than technique.

    No. It wasn't. It was designed for close contact fighting and assasination as it was a revolutionary art. The entire nun story is a founding folktale/legend. A good one, but more and mroe martial historians are calling it into question (Benny Meng is one, but there are a number of others). Like Hung Ga and many other arts at the time, it appears taht Wing Chun was developed as an "in-house" fighting style for a revolutionary society.

    I had to insert that edit, because it belies a misunderstanding of numerous arts where the hips and positioning come into play. Others include, but are not limited to Ju Jitsu, BJJ, Judo, Tai Chi, Ba Gua, Xing Yi, most CMA, FMA, need I go on? :)

    That's not a knock against Wing Chun, which I think is an excellent art, and can definitely be used for self defense. Just simply, I agree with what Jesh said, any well taught art with a contemporary focus can be used for Self Defense.

    - Matt
  6. KickChick

    KickChick Valued Member

    I'm part of that group of women trained in TKD.... but throughout my 12 years of training I've also supplemented the self defense training I receive in TKD with self defense training designed specifically for women for violent crimes that are directed towards us such as rape..

    If your martial art includes these specifics (does Wing Chun? ) well, then I guess you don't need to look any further.

    Matt is right on the money with "training methodology is FAR FAR FAR more important than technique"

    Playful Giant, you talk about putting a woman in a ring with a man and chances are she will be beaten. We are not talking competition here. We are talking personal defense. When a man attacks a woman, he either wants her money, her life or her body. The nature of the conflict is quite different.
  7. Playful Giant

    Playful Giant Banned Banned

    Actually, it was originally designed for an extension of shaolin kung fu because some monks struggled to topple their bigger opponents. It was then altered by Ng Mui to suit her needs as a female.
    It was mistaken as being designed to topple the Emperor's armies in hand to hand combat and hence one of the reasons why the temples were destroyed

    What I meant was that Ju Jitsu, etc still uses a lot of tension. Although strength is not meant to be used (unless you have a lot of it!!), it can be a very rigid art. Wing chun is a very relaxed art. Tai chi is a good example, but without offending any tai chi masters, I would never dream of using it to fight off an attacker! Judo has no finishing moves and I have destroyed many Judo fighters because I let myself get thrown and then dragged them down with me!! BJJ is the same. There are no realsitic finishing moves in it. They are sport based arts. Very good arts (I do them myself), but they are dangerous to use outside. If I grapple with someone, it's only a matter of time before his/her mate comes and kicks me!! I am not trying to have a pop at other arts - I just think it's important to steer away from what arts should be used for. There are many links on MAP saying that wing chun should not be used for cage fighting. I agree. But the energy can be applied. Similarly, I would never reccomend even world class Judo or BJJ fighters using just that to fight someone off in a realistic defence scenario. My apologies to all of these practitioners (it is not meant as a criticism)
  8. reikislapper

    reikislapper see you on the flypaper

    Hi there, I may not be a tai chi master as I'm only a beginner in this style and when we do pushing hands we have the chance to use some of the techniques in tai chi. They are very effective as a self defence move I assure you, I've had a go with Taiji Butterfly and he got me on the floor with one as I didn't see it coming, (he's going to love this one lol). I had another go seeing that I'm a glutton for punishment and I said that I was going to let him floor me as I wanted to see how he'd been so crafty in getting me down. I didn't think tai chi was any good for the self defence but I've been proved wrong as I'm not one to give into anyone who's trying to get me on the ground, I don't play lol.
    There is something which is lacking in some clubs though and I'm not having a go at any of the teachers in here ( honest ;) ). There isn't enough ground fighting being taught to women cos when your on the ground you can't really do much can you apart from kick out and if your put on your front then you lose in most cases. I would love to see that there would be a few changes within clubs to chancge this no matter if they are the softer side of Martial arts or not.
    lisa xx
  9. Playful Giant

    Playful Giant Banned Banned

    I did tai chi for a while and to be honest found no practical application with it. It is still an extremely good art to learn as it helps develop strong stances and positive energy. However, take it down a pub on a Friday night or against multiple attacker and it is useless.

    Kamon Wing Chun is very effective as it trains you in the soft stuff (forms, chi sao) and drills in the combative stuff (feeding techniques, drills, etc).

    The women who do it are very good at holding their own and they punch very hard!!
  10. Matt_Bernius

    Matt_Bernius a student and a teacher

    I've worked with very good Tai Chi men who could clear a bar without a problem and very poor people who couldn't fight their way out of a paper bag. Same with people in just about every art including Wing Chun.

    I know you're very proud of Kamon. But I think that we've had very different experiences interacting with other arts. Perhaps thats because we've worked out with people of very different skill levels or learned from different teachers. I have to say that comments like BJJ has no finishing moves and that all you'll do is roll around on the ground untill you get stomped is a fundimental misunderstanding of the art. Or perhaps it's just the way that you've been taught it.

    Look, we're taking this in the wrong direction. Kamon sound like a wonderful wing chun program, but that's as much because of a great teacher than the art itself. I've met other great teachers in a wide variety of arts and I think any of them can teach a woman good self defense. Perhaps, instead of concentrating on the art, we should concentrate on what to look for in a good self defense teacher.

    Continuing to debate "which art is best" is just taking this thread far off course.

    - Matt
  11. Playful Giant

    Playful Giant Banned Banned

    Not at all. Kamon has flaws just like many arts out there, but it tries to be a complete system. In that sense, no matter what the circumstances it makes you aware of how to get out of it. Whether it be sparring, grappling, close quarter fighting, knife attacks, etc. We train the soft side and the hard side

    I was not trying to insult Tai Chi as like I said I know some very good practitioners who have a lot of power. One of my friends was in a bar with me. He had done Tai Chi for 11 years. Someone grabbed him and he couldn't do anything!! The way they implement their moves does not usually include grapples!!

    When I said that BJJ has no finishing moves, I meant that in competitions you cannot use punches, eye strikes, elbows, knockouts, etc.
    Of course you can use bar arms, chokes, etc, but while you are trying to implement these, someone could join in the fight!!

    I was trying to relay the fact that wing chun was a very very fast way of getting rid of an assailant for a female victim
  12. Su lin

    Su lin Gone away

    Girls point of view!

    I started Shaolin Lau Gar a while ago, not with the intention to use it as self defense as an end in itself. As the only woman in my club, I always spar against men, which has helped me to get an idea of what it would be like fighting off an attacker.
    What it has helped me with is strength and also agility- I may not be able to punch or kick the men very hard, but I can usually get out of their way and also get in to attack quickly. I'm not at that stage where fighting comes naturally yet, I was away in London last week and thought I was going to be attacked by a guy who pushed me, then realised I was talking on a mobile so he ran off. I'm not sure what I would have done if he had attacked me , apart form panic!
    I have found that I am far more confident walking round on my own- I keep my head up and try and look confident! ;)
  13. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    Wing Chun doesn't include grappling either. That's why at Kamon they teach some BJJ as well, to complement it by adding some groundwork.

    I think that a number of the attributes which you state make Wing Chun ideal for women can also be attributed to Taiji.

    Obviously I don't know anything about your friend, but I would hazard a guess that the reason he was unable to deal with his assailant in the bar had more to do with him than with his MA. I don't mean that he is not skilled, but maybe he froze or something. Believe me, Taiji in the hands of an experienced practitioner is a very effective MA. (Even if it doesn't include grappling! ;) :D )
  14. Matt_Bernius

    Matt_Bernius a student and a teacher

    The plain fact of the matter is that any art that has a high degree of resistive training and (no way to mamby-pamby this) hitting/getting hit in the way it is taught is going to be an excellent start for anyone interested in learning physical self defense.

    As M. Musashi suggests in the Book of Five Rings, physical confrontation is about spiritual dominance first and foremost. Yes weapons may make it easier to make up for the gap, but as many have discovered in all walks of life, it's possible to escape through even the smallest gap.

    Training resistively (and the experience of getting hit and getting up) helps one understand what they can do. To use a familiar phrase, it develops the fighting spirit. And having that spirit backing up a mediocre technique is far better than having excellent technique backed by no spirit.

    The problem for many is that they are not willing to get hit and train in that fashion because it hurts (both physically and the ego) at times.

    - Matt
  15. KickChick

    KickChick Valued Member

    Women must also bear in mind that the chances of you having to defend yourself against someone who is your "style" is remote, so it is important to train in other ranges and other styles to be successful at defending yourself

    I personally found in my training that it is necessary not to develop a bias towards any style. Increase your chances of successfully defending yourself by cross training in several styles or arts.

    "when the only tool you have is a hammer, everything else begins to look like a nail."
  16. Playful Giant

    Playful Giant Banned Banned

    Exactly. I like wing chun because it suits me, but as I have said it is not right for everyone. I fill in the gaps using BJJ, Tai boxing, karate, boxing and kickboxing.

    Women must be careful that the art they do is not strength based. There are some types of karate out there where strength dominates, and other types where it is the skill you build up over time.

    If women wish to do a martial art, I would advise looking at the other women in the dojo/training hall and seeing whether they can pull off good defence (rather than it being a McDojo).
  17. Topher

    Topher allo!

    I agree, but a style that doesn’t include a range you would likely come across, clinch/close quarter training for example, or maybe emphasises on techniques not ideal for street level defence isn’t going to provide as much efficient training no matter how live it is. At the range many street level situation happen some techniques would be like bringing a rifle to a close up pistol fight.

    The point being the way you train and the skill of the teacher can be great, but if the techniques are risky and not ideal then you’re not learning efficient material for your needs.

    I think what is needed it realistic techniques (the sort you would actually get on the street – hooks, holds, grabs etc. And if a technique is not going to be of use, why train them) combined with training them alive.

    I agree with PG comment on strength. If you base your training on strength the stronger person will win, and lets face it, whats the chance of a women being stronger than her attacker.

    I can’t agree more, which is why for self defence you need to look at styles which have self defence as there focus. If sport plays a big part, it it ideal for self defence when you have to split your training? I would like to try out BJJ one day, but in no way to I want to train to the rules of sport. I want it so I can safely get back on my feet asap or control someone on the ground if I really have to.
  18. Killbot

    Killbot Valued Member

    Styles, arts....

    I think this defeats the purpose of selfdefense...not entirely. Don't misunderstand my point. I'm not taking a swipe at formal arts and styles.

    Selfdefense is not stylistic and should not, I repeat should not be something that needs extensive, consistent training. Under stress, most training goes out the window anyway, and your back to the gross motor skills and instincts anyway.

    Most styles rely on a certain type of general body mechanic that must be developed over time with practice.

    This tells me one should concentrate their efforts on fighting very, very dirty, learning some soft spots, some ways to relese a grip, awareness and use of environment, and some very basic grappling and distancing.

    (read above as: thumbs in the eyes; carry a stungun; stab 'em with car keys in the cheek and eyes; grinding on their throat with a heel or knuckle; a good basic knee to the groin standing, on your back or above them; turning your wrists against the attackers thumb to release a grip, swimming your arms to make them let go of clothes; smashing them in the head with a trashcan lid or empty bottle thats lying in that dark alley; checking escape routes very first; learning to shove you away from them; good foot placement for balance
    so as not to get trapped on the ground; and learing to break and run, terribly fast ; etc... Note no real muscle power is needed for any of this.)

    My theory on selfdefense is brutality, not technique or training. You gotta be nastier than the nasty thing attacking you wanting to do nasty things.

    Like KickChick said, its not a competition.

    Martials arts have their place, but they are rarely self defense or mortal combat oriented. Not true across the board, but true in general.

    Thats my lightly informed opinion. :)
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2005
  19. Slindsay

    Slindsay All violence is necessary

    Hmm, I think that any art which trains properly and cultivates a proper attitiude among it's female practitioners (An attitiude of awareness as to their disadvantages when compared to men but also their own abilities to overcome them) Should be excellent.
  20. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member


    I think you made some very good points there. I like the one about developing a few simple but effective (and vicious!) techniques for self-defence. Those could be stuff you've thought of yourself, or equally they could be things that you've learned through an MA class. But the important thing is that either way you have to practise them until they become second nature. So that you eliminate that thinking time, that hesitation.

    At our class we learn a huge range of different techniques. But our teacher stresses that they are MA skills, and not self-defence. Not that they don't work, but that you would need a lot of developed skill and experience to use them in a real life self-defence situation.

    The techniques which we are taught specifically for self-defence on the other hand are very few in number and very simple in execution.

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