In teaching self-defense to women it is important to stress at the outset that the tips we will be covering are suggestions. They are not iron clad, as every situation is going to be different, and women must assess for themselves whether they have a fighting chance.
It is also important to stress the fact that if a woman did not follow any of the steps you will be teaching, they didn’t necessarily do anything ‘wrong’. (There may be women in your class that have been assaulted in the past, and you don’t want to sound like you are attacking their behavior).
To be clear, it is indeed a sad state of affairs that we even need to address this topic. No woman deserves to live in fear for her safety. The sad truth is, there are a lot of sick individuals in this world, and they prey upon the meek.
That said, here are some tips that women can employ to make them less likely to be a victim of an assault.
1. Conduct business during the daytime, and avoid unlit areas at night.
Women are far more likely to be attacked at night in areas that an assailant can easily hide himself or herself. Always park near your destination, and in well-lit areas.
2. Travel in groups.
2 women are far less likely to be attacked than a single person. The more the merrier, and the likelihood of being attacked drops dramatically
3. Always tell somebody where you are going, and when they should expect you to arrive.
Time is of the essence if you are abducted or injured due to an attack.
4. Carry your keys in your hand.
This will allow you to get into your car more quickly, and they can be used as a weapon if necessary. Carry them between your fingers to strike with if necessary.
5. If confronted, make eye contact, and study the description of your assailant.
This is vital in finding the bad guy, and will help prevent him from doing it again. There is a fine line here. Let them know you see them, and are aware fo their presence, but some guys will take too much eye contact as an invitation.
6. Make as much noise as possible if you are attacked.
You never know who might be near by that can help you, and most attackers will flee if they think they may be caught.
7. Never let somebody relocate you.
Allowing somebody to take you where they know they will not be disturbed will never end well for you.
8. Be aware of your surroundings. Make a mental note of avenues of escape.
Make a game of it. I always do this wherever I go.
9. Carry yourself with confidence. Don’t look like a victim.
Typically, assailants look for those who will go easily and not put up a fight.
10. Don’t wear expensive jewelry or flaunt cash in public.
Particularly on vacation, people are targeted because their assailant is looking for easy cash. Also, dress moderately. Unfortunately there are sick people out there that could be prompted to attack you based upon what you wear. (Once again, it is important to stress that this is a sad reality, but dressing provocatively does not mean it is OK for somebody to attack them, it can entice somebody that is unstable).
11. Be in shape physically.
You will have a far better chance of surviving an attack if you can fight HARD for more than 30 seconds.
12. Be mentally prepared to fight for your life.
Decide in advance that YOU WILL NOT BE A VICTIM. Be determined to get away from any attacker-at all cost.
Leaving a mark on your attacker and having his DNA under your fingernails is helpful in prosecuting the right person.
This is not a ‘Fair Fight’ use whatever resources you can to save yourself.
15. Look for items that can be used as weapons.
Use rocks, sticks, your purse… ANYTHING that can help you get away.
Get away from the situation as quickly as you can. You are not in a fight. If you are able to escape the situation, do so.
17. Look for, and attack inherent weaknesses.
MY eyeball isn’t any stronger than yours. Poking the eyeball is a great target to help you get away. Other inherent weaknesses are:
D. Ear Drums
E. Solar Plexus
H. Toes and Fingers
18. Strike correctly.
You can injure yourself just as badly, if not worse than your attacker if you punch incorrectly. Practice punching with the first two knuckles, with your wrist straight. Gain power by incorporating your torso and your legs.
Use elbows and knees, as well as foot stomps and kicks.
19. If you carry pepper spray or any other weapon, PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT.
Do not carry a weapon that you are not proficient in. Any weapon can be taken away from you and used against you. Be aware of your environment if using pepper spray.
Wind can blow pepper spray back into your eyes, rendering YOU incapacitated. You would be better off spraying it into your hand, and wiping it in your assailant’s eyes.
20. Be a survivor
Mike Tyson once said, ‘Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.’
Know that a physical altercation is going to be tough. Keep your wits about yourself, and focus on surviving the attack.
Once you have gone over these tips, it is good to open it up for those in the class to share some of their ideas. This list could easily be twice as long, and it is helpful to get them thinking about ways they can keep safe.
Subjects for Discussion:
1. At home never allow somebody inside your home to use the phone or for any other reason if you are home alone. Respond with a firm ‘NO’. Do not engage in conversation.
2. Never tell somebody on the phone that you are home alone
3. Never accept a ride form strangers
*If approached, speak in a firm voice, ‘NO, I have a ride coming’, and move on. Do not engage in conversation.
(OPTIONAL) Next, I take them through a 2 minute ‘warm-up’ phase where I get them huffing and puffing from doing simple Jumping Jacks. I inform them that they were only going for two minutes, and they were only doing jumping jacks- not fighting for their lives… ‘look how tired you are.’ I encourage them to get into some sort of physical fitness program.
Finally, I teach basic striking, and a choke hold.
1. Fighting Stance
Hands up. Chin tucked in. Feet shoulder width apart. Comfortable walking stance. Stand on the balls of your feet. RELAX your shoulders.
***Stepping into a proper fighting stance alone could be a deterrent to an attacker.
2. Palm heel strike
I teach this because it is less likely that somebody will hurt themselves while learning the basics. Snapping palm toward the nose. Striking the nose will cause the eyes to water. If they can’t see you, they can’t attack you. Use focus mitts for practice.
3. Front Kick.
Aim with the knee. Pull your toe back, and strike with the ball of your foot. Snap it toward your target ad pull it back. Groin is a perfect target. Use kick shields to practice.
4. Knee strike
Target = Groin. Point your toes toward the ground, and raise your bent knee upward toward it’s intended target while thrusting your hips forward for more power.
Put it all together. Defending against a grab, raise your hand high up in the air. Snap it downward. This will cause your opponent to bring their head forward. As they do, strike them in the nose with your open palm, then kick or knee the groin, depending on how close they are and run.
5. Choke (Time permitting)
Teach a simple gi choke. Demonstrate that it can be done from standing or guard, using a jacket or shirt. Right hand grabs the collar behind the neck. Left hand grabs the collar just below the right hand (Similar to holding a baseball bat). Right hand weaves over the head, and squeeze, using the forearms to cut off blood supply to the brain.