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. Su lin

    Su lin Gone away


    Good points about strength training etc. Practising kung fu, I am finding out what my weaknesses as a woman are, but also beginning to find my strengths , this is something my teacher is also really good at pointing out. Training with men really does give a good idea about what strength I would need if attacked, but as someone mentioned, it isn't really useful unti fighting becomes second nature.
    I'm used to training hurting and also to getting hurt when training, and a fighting spirit is definitely useful!
    There is some really good advice here , thanks! :D
  2. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    What weaknesses do women have in MA? That they are generally smaller than men? Well small men have the same disadvantage against bigger men.

    If we learn techniques which rely on strength then we will be at a disadvantage when we come up against someone of greater strength. That applies to everyone equally.

    On the other hand, if we learn techniques which rely purely on speed and skill and not on strength, then why should women be at any disadvantage at all? The head of my system is quite a slightly built man, but he can generate far more force than most men twice his size. It's down to great technique developed over years of practise, and mastering an art that utilises body mechanics rather than muscle power.
  3. KickChick

    KickChick Valued Member

    Everyone who begins their training in the martial arts, eventually realizes their personal strengths & weakness' whether they are male OR female, I don't believe gender plays an importance in choice of style.
  4. Playful Giant

    Playful Giant Banned Banned

    Exactly. There are women in wing chun who are good, but similarly there are women in tai boxing who are good. I think it is important for the person doing the training to make the most of what they have.

    Saying that, I do still believe that there are arts out there that women find easier to use (quicker to put into practice)
  5. Jesh

    Jesh Dutch Side Of The Force

    Sorry for the late reply, but I seem to have missed the splitting of this thread. :)

    As for my reply... you stated that:

    My reply was:

    You specifically say in your first post that WC helps people fight a bigger/stronger opponent. My reply to that was that more styles deal with the same issue. JJ is one of the first examples that come to mind, but as we all know there are far more options to choose from.

    The problem with the statement at the top of the page is that you say:

    "Put them in a ring with a male opponent of equal training and they would get beaten.""

    However, we are not talking about a ring based situation... this is about self defense. In most cases, if there's a male attacker against a female defender... it is probable that the attacker will have superior size and strength anyway. So it's about simple and effective techniques.

    The main issue is getting away from the threat as soon as possible, without sustaining injuries. (if this is an option...)

    Sorry didn't mean to offend you, but it caught my attention and I didn't want to let this thread derail into a style VS style situation. It's an important topic.
  6. Su lin

    Su lin Gone away


    I didn't mean that my weaknesses are specifically because I'm a woman fighting against men. It's true, we all have strenghts and weaknesses- my teacher is the same height as me (5"7) and he uses it to his advantage ! I think what I meant was, that when it comes to pure strength, women aren't always as strong as men, and that I'm finding it really useful finding out how much strength is required to fight a man , which would be useful if I was attacked. :rolleyes:
  7. MissBehavin

    MissBehavin New Member

    Female form

    I do not know if it is true but the person who throws an effective first strike has the best chance of winning?And I can remember of a really bad case where a Man or more like animal would rob Women in a real horrible way!He would walk up and kick Women hard in the groin and when the Women hit the ground he would walk off with there purse monney etc. :woo: Talk about injury to insult!HEshould do hard time for that!!But he never got caught!? But as far as style I like kickboxing it seems to work good for me.But some martial arts I looked at seemed like a new-age cult like than martial arts?But maybe I am wrong?
  8. Topher

    Topher allo!

    There are many suitable arts for women, but remember that many women might find it uncomfortable to get into grappling or being physical so i think the point about WC is that it uses relatively natural, simple movements. It doesn’t rely on brute strength so a woman can pick it up very quickly, which means it dosn't take long for it to be appliable. There is some stuff that you can literally use after the first lesion.
  9. Jesh

    Jesh Dutch Side Of The Force

    I totally agree Homer, but same can be said for JJ (remember JJ doesn't only consist of grappling, but of many self defense techniques), Krav Maga and others. I think it depends on the individual which art suits them best.

    So I think it's a bit premature to say that WC is the best art for women.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2005
  10. chasleeuk

    chasleeuk Valued Member

    styles which allow good technique to overcome superior strength, something like BJJ!!!

    i think BJJ is good for women because it concentrates on groundwork, women shouldnt be fighting in the first place, they should run away always. In the unfortunate situation that they get taken down to the floor (in a rape situation), they need to have the best technique to get out on top and escape.

    I cant think of a better system that is more suitable for escaping the ground and getting in a superior position to escape than BJJ. A common misconception that grappling is all about strength, rather its more to do with technique and correct leverage (although strength obviously helps of course!). Good techniques allow a smaller guy to beat the bigger guy.

    Its all well in theory telling a woman to hit eyes, groin, throat and then run etc...but its not always possible to do in reality, rather reality might mean being able to survive once taken to the ground after being ambushed by a rapist.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2005
  11. Topher

    Topher allo!

    I think BJJ would be great for women to take in addition to some striking/close quarters training.
  12. Playful Giant

    Playful Giant Banned Banned

    I agree that BJJ is very important to learn as a self defence. However, you must remember that most women don't really want to wrap around or get close to guys. Guys attacking women for sex or to kidnap them will grab them and force them around. BJJ is extremely suitable to help escape.

    On the other hand, if they show you a knife or approach a woman, then you don't really want to initiate a grapple. Although its not a strength based art, it is very very hard to grapple someone who has strength. I have seen tournaments that have gone on longer than they should have because one person was using strength while the other guy was waiting for his opponent to release
  13. BocaDeCalca

    BocaDeCalca New Member

    Re: Post#2

    This Passage reveals a fundemental flaw in modern women's "self defense" programs. They are too often based on the "dirty tricks" ideal, positing that learning a number of "dirty" techniques (eye gouging, headbutting, groin strikes, etc.) will allow you to escape an inferior position (in this case, an opponent who has your back).

    Unfortuenately, the woman in this story learned the same thing that many early UFC competitors learned: "dirty tricks" do not beat superior position and athleticism. Also, many attackers do not respond to pain based techniques.

    Contrast that with training in a full contact, probably grappling based art, like BJJ, Judo or even wrestling. Someone (usually a stronger, more skilled person) having your back and attempting to lift (and throw or choke) you is a common, almost daily occurence. The woman who trains in that manner will have superior defensive skills from that position because she will have been put in that position hundreds of times and have ACTUALLY GOTTEN OUT, not against someone who's playing a role or a space suited dummy who is guessing at how he should react to your techniques, but a man who is actually trying to physically dominate you. In addition, you will gain the neccesary strength and athleticism which will help you survive in such a situation.

    This point is beautifully illustrated in this clip where matt thornton and one of his coaches demonstrate alive drilling from under a headlock hold down/kesa gatame (15-25 minutes in I believe).

    And at this point we realized that this woman's martial arts training, particularly it's reliance on "dirty tricks" like headbutting and stomping has probably failed her and gotten her raped. Would the outcome have been different if she'd trainned in the way I outlined? Maybe. No technique or person is fullproof. However I am convinced that if she'd trained in a competitive grappling art, she would have had a far better chance of escaping the initial attack.

    Note also the presence of the knife, something many "reality based/self defense" programs train to have viable escapes from.
    Finally, this passage deserves further attention. While i'm not doubting that, given her abilities, this woman did the right thing, I do believe her training failed her and deserves to be questioned. In fact, I believe that her instructor has a lot to answer for as to why the techniques s/he taught her failed so miserably under pressure.
  14. Matt_Bernius

    Matt_Bernius a student and a teacher

    My issue with the above responses is the assumption that most Women's Self Defense programs rely on "drity tricks." For the last year or two I've been surveying them, and to my pleasure, I've found that most of the local ones in my area don't. There's a pattern that I've noticed with these:

    1. They're multiweek
    2. They're taught by someone with certification in a RBSD or Rape Prevention Program.
    3. They all stress basic striking and grappling skills.
    4. They address the notion of eye shots and "too deadly" as panaceas. They realisitical note that they may work to create an opening, but you can't rely on them to stop the situation.
    5. These courses focus first and foremost on awareness skills.

    The courses, ironically, that stress "dirty techniques" have typically been one day courses taught by individuals who have TMA training, but haven't completed a Rape Defense or other self defense training.

    What I'm trying to say is that I think the cynical view that all modern Women's Self Defense sucks just doesn't work. Some does. However, if you begin to survey actual programs (vs. internet guides), you'll find that more fit the resistance rubric than you think.

    - Matt
  15. tellner

    tellner Valued Member

    As I've said a few dozen times, it's a matter of time and the students. If you have them twice a week for three years and everyone is in decent shape you can turn them into hellacious fighters. If you've got twenty to forty hours and a real mix of body-types, fitness and comfort with violence you just have to do the best you can.

    Grappling and ground work are important aspects of self defense, but they aren't a cure-all. And the way they are taught for MMA competitions - which seems to be what you're recommending - presents serious weaknesses for women's self defense.

    Here's an example. There are many.

    What is the goal in a MMA competition? Submission. You get a lock, a choke or enough ground-and-pound until he gives up. Then you stand up, embrace, and it's all over. A submission just doesn't make sense for self defense. Should a smaller weaker woman have to lie there holding onto a heel hook or arm bar until the police come by and tap her on the shoulder?

    I submit that causing maximum structural damage in the minimum time should be the goal in this sort of program. It requires some serious retooling like "Don't think of it as a lock. Just break it and move on."

    A lot of the technique is useful. The training is excellent. But a short term self defense program is different than a competition sport no matter how applicable or hardcore the sport is.

    In a well-run class the "dirty tricks" serve a couple important functions.

    First, when used judiciously and without relying on them as magic talismans they can increase one's efficiency. When you are dealing with a larger, stronger, more experienced assailant (typical for women's self defense situations) this is important. A good hard head butt is more effective at close quarters than a punch. That's why it's illegal in boxing. I've seen people knocked out and with hairline skull fractures from a single good one. The Sublime Meditation of the Four Exquisite Verbs - Grab, Squeeze, Twist, Pull - isn't a bad one to go for if he's getting his wedding tackle out for use. The spine and back of the head aren't legal targets in MMA competition. But in self defense they should be primary ones.

    Second, they are useful for the one of the most important parts of self defense, disinhibiting the students and making them readier for violence. If you get them to the point where they are ready to punch someone you have accomplished something useful. If you get them to the point where they are eager to tear the guy's head off, beat him to death with it and steal his wallet and rings afterwards you've accomplished something more useful. Making some of the viler stuff normative helps the process. It also allows you to gauge their progress. When they stop looking horrified or giggling nervously and accept this sort of thing as matter of fact they have made some real progress.
    Last edited: May 17, 2006
  16. tellner

    tellner Valued Member

  17. BocaDeCalca

    BocaDeCalca New Member

    Then perhaps the idea that we can make signifigant gains in self defense ability in a twenty hour course is wrong.
    That being said, six months to a year should not be too long to see signifigant improvement in functional fighting skills.

    I would contend that, while not perfect, it is a better form of training than the vast majority of "reality based" programs.

    This reveals either a signifigant misunderstanding of what grappling is all about or possibly deliberate obtuseness on your part.

    The first thing a BJJ student learns is "position before submission", that is working your way out of a bad position and into a good position. In fact, i'd venture to say that BJJ white belts will spend the majority of their time working on positional techniques, techniques which *physically move you out of harms way*, rather than relying on striking or "dirty tricks" which the opponent may or may not respond to (in the case of the woman in this story,he did not). Again, as per the example in the video she will have actually gotten out hundreds, thousands of times.

    In fact, I would venture to say that the majority of grappling time is spent on positional work. Working for/on subs is maybe 25% of training time.

    This is infinitely superior to a program that relies on guessing at how an opponent's reactions from inside a space suit (and after speaking with IMPACT suit guys, that is exactly what they do) or even worse, choreographed routines or even aikido style "randori" where you do the same thing but in the center of a circle of people.

    See the Grappling FAQ:

    This doesn't seem like a huge leap to make. Once you've tapped people out many times, I doubt that it will be a huge transition to crank that extra few inches and break the arm...This, however, is still beside the point.

    I am questioning the idea of short term self defense courses being useful.
    Yet a headbutt proved pretty innefective for this woman!

    That's a false assumption. "It's illegal in [x combat sport], therefore it works". Combat sports often ban retarded techniques because it presents a better public image.

    It's NOT a substitute for good positioning skills. It is a SUPPLEMENT to them.

    They are illegal in SOME MMA competitions, but not all or even the majority.
    They do have their uses (striking from neck clinch or under guard) but again, that relies on having superior positioning. They are, for instance, useless for defending a takedown.

    The issues is not of "targeting" because it doesn't matter what targets you strike from under a pin, you're unlikely to cause damage.

    I would submit that actually doing violence (IE combat sports) is a suitable substitute.

    But have you accomplished anything if these women have no functional delivery system? Does it matter how willing they are to poke out an eye or headbutt if they can't escape mount?

    The woman in this story came up against that reality and found that her willingness to do violence was out of sync with her actual ability to do it.
  18. tellner

    tellner Valued Member

    Nope. Wrong. Not even. Use your search function. We've gone over this. The most important single part of effective self defense is earnest resistance. Those who fight back, even without any training, reduce the rate of completed crimes from about 90% to about 20%. And I've done the literature review to show that. You can get significant improvements in a short time for that purpose. The hard part is figuring out what will best serve your students, not your own ego, in the limited time you have to work with them.

    On what do you base that other than you like submission wrestling so it must be best? It's one of a number of useful skills. The reality-based programs include ground work. They include a certain amount of grappling. But they have to deal with the whole situation, so they don't get tunnel vision. Saying "Do half a million escapes from the guard, mount and side control and you'll have great self defense skills" simply isn't true. It will give you an answer to one specific set of situations. It won't necessarily develop the attributes and skills that are most important for preventing the completion of a crime.

    Nope. I don't grapple much any more. But I wrestled, did Judo and spent some time at a very good grappling gym. The goal of "position before submission" is still submission. Position is a means to that end. And the result you are looking for is pain compliance, making the other guy be reasonable and give up. That makes perfect sense in a match or certain sorts of fight. It is dead wrong for the situations we're talking about.

    Let's suppose the defender gets superior groundfighting position and applies a hold or lock. You still haven't answered the question what does she do next. She can't sit there forever. She can't let him up if he taps. If you're going to use your favorite style of submission wrestling you will have to do some serious revision to adapt it to the reality she will likely find herself in.

    I'm not nearly as good a wrestler as you are. But I'm not unfamiliar with it. Can you say the same thing about the RBSD people and what they do?

    Straw man, straw man, straw man. And you should know better.

    Were we talking about Aikido cooperative "randori"? No.

    Were we talking about IMPACT? No. IMPACT was one of the first programs, but it didn't change, and the state of the art did. Look at what Blauer, Thompson or Messina teach and more importantly how they teach. The padded suit in its incarnations really is important. Until we have a supply of condemned convicts to work on the students will need someone to hit who will be capable of coming back for the next class. I've had concussions, broken ribs, torn muscles, broken fingers and toes and a badly bruised trachea from inside one of the better suits. If you want to have a scared angry woman do her best to hurt you with just your gi, then be my guest. I'll send flowers to the hospital.

    What you still don't understand is that it's not really about technique. It's about changing the way the student reacts. Effective technique helps, but it's secondary. The will to fight and the ability to hurt someone really badly when it's needed are the essential parts. That few extra pounds of force isn't much in physics. It's an enormous psychological barrier. That's why judicious use of some of the nasty stuff without over-reliance on it as a panacea (which I believe I said several times) is a useful training aid.

    And I am saying that they are, especially if you are talking about women who aren't going to spend years pursuing an obscure hobby in a testosterone-heavy environment. Fighting back works. Short term courses increase the chances that you will fight back. The willingness to hurt someone is a rare thing among normal sane human beings. The better courses help the student flip that switch and give them decent high-percentage tools. If that's all they have that's what they'll use.

    Give me a break, and I don't mean arm, leg or neck. One apocryphal story about someone who may have used a back headbutt at the same time as a pain technique isn't even close to a statistical universe. Look at your beloved MMA competitions. The reason the head butt is forbidden in all of them is that it has a very good chance of hurting someone pretty badly when it's done correctly. As I say, I've personally seen knockouts and what I'm pretty sure was a hairline skull fracture from a well-executed one. Look at Holyfield vs. Tyson #1. They were both chugging along until Iron Mike ran into Holyfield's forehead. It really took the starch out of him. Most experienced boxers I've read or talked to say that is where it went irretrievably wrong for him.

    Nothing is guaranteed to work. Nothing at all. But some things shade the odds better than others.

    I'll say it again and again if necessary. I practice a position-based martial art. Position is a means, not an end. I never said anything about strikes to the spine being ways of defending against a takedown. But any doctor, paramedic or person with half a brain can tell you that strong strikes to the cervical spine and the back of the head are deadly force. Nobody can take more than a few of them without the risk of death or permanent crippling injury. They aren't "lame". It's just reality. And it's an example of how one might fine tune competitive sports for application in a different arena.
  19. Matt_Bernius

    Matt_Bernius a student and a teacher

    Telner's addressed most of this. But I want to explore this one as well. Tell us about your experience with "reality based" training. And please don't bring up one P. Elmore. What reality based programs have you evaluated?

    Further, even the famous IMPACT suits have gone through a pretty rapid evolution in recent years to help faciliate better feedback. If that isn't enough for you, there a Blauer High Gear suits that are specifically designed for the highest level of feedback. As Tellner noted the technology and training methods that reality based training programs use have gone through a lot of evolution over the last two decades.

    - Matt
    Last edited: May 18, 2006
  20. BocaDeCalca

    BocaDeCalca New Member

    While that may be true, it seems like a diversion, a way to sidetrack discussion. Even if any type of resistance greatly increases your odds (and I find something instinctually...not right about this idea), it's still not an excuse to teach non functional techniques.

    I'm not saying you're completely wrong, i'm simply saying the idea deserves scrutiny/a second look, with applied critical thinking.

    Experience with the two most important women in my life, my mom and my best friend. I have seen BJJ up their fighting skills many times over in just a few months.

    First of all, that's a straw man. However, as long as you're making a bizzaro-arguement, make sure it works in your non-euclidean alternate universe, because spending hours and hours escaping the mount of a big man who's really trying to hold you down is a wonderful way to learn to defend yourserlf.

    Yeah, because there's absolutely no rape defense applicability to escaping a pin or breaking the arm of a man between your legs.

    You're still missing the point. The finish, applied from a superior position, is much less important than the act of getting to that position in the first place.
    Ok, let's go over this one more time:

    Please, let me know if you still don't understand this, and someone will be by to staple a sign that says "please do not give this little boy sweets" to your sweater.

    Again, this is a straw man arguement, since i'm not advocating that. However, in this situation, I suggest she crank another few inches and dislocate his shoulder. This isn't complicated, and your lack of understanding makes me wonder where you learned to grapple.


    I was reffering to "self defense" excercizes where you stand in the middle of a circle and people attack you with "random" attacks and you try to rack up a high score by showing your amazing wrist lock/groin kick abilities while the smug black belts in the background say things like "Oooh! That's gotta hurt!" and "He'll feel that tommorow!".

    I have. Do you have a point?

    While the technical innovations of improved safety gear are wonderful, it IS possible to go close to full force with just cups, mma gloves and a mouthpiece. It's not something you'd want to do every day but it can be done.
    There are downsides to lots of gear though. The size of many models, even the newer ones, restrict movement so the "attacker"'s movements are abnormally clumsy.
    Also, often the suits are paired with a "role playing" element where the person in the suit attacks in the way they think a rapist, mugger, etc. would (i'm reffering to the physical attack here). I believe this LARPing is the equivalent to _ing _un antigrappling videos where a _unner plays the role of a "grappler".

    I volunteer for this. I am 100% serious.

    While this is essentially true, it lacks context. Noone disputes that will to fight is neccesary but that begs two questions:

    1: What use is will to fight when technique and athleticism are inadequate (again, as in the second story of this thread)?
    2: How is this killer instinct developed? I believe actually hitting a noncompliant partner, trying to throw them down and prevent them doing the same to you, working your way out of a bad position and into a good one and trying to choke them unconscious are good methods.

    And yet none of these women are actually bursting eyeballs either. The methodology is applying it to the point of submission, which is just like sub. grappling except less practical.
    And no, putting your thumbs in fruit while your dummy does his best stage scream is NOT an advantage.

    Fighting (self defense if you prefer) is hard. It requires many hours of practice, sparring and conditioning. There are no quick answers.

    Again, i'm saying "dirty tricks" are LOW percentage tools.

    If you'd actually bothered to research MMA history you would know that was due to senator mcaine, and no wish of rorion or anyone else involved in the early UFCs.

    Interesting...and yet it's not actually apoint.

    Yes. Those things are not "dirty tricks", they are solid, athletic, FUNCTIONAL abilities at all ranges.

    What is it?

    Medical evidence of lethality proves nothing about effectiveness in fighting, especially since that exact technique has been applied many times in vale tudo and thai boxing, with results that are, at best, mixed.

Share This Page