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Self Defense: Programs for Every Woman

Posted Aug 23 2010 6:00am

Hey everyone! I am in Philly so I hope you enjoy this guest post about self defence for women! I think it is a really important topic that is not talked about nearly as much as it should be. 

Many women carry mace or pepper spray.  Some keep a gun, a bat, or another type of weapon in their home, car, or purse.  And then there are women who are completely unprepared to face an attacker.  No matter what your method of protection (or lack thereof), you need to consider the fact that one in four women will be the victim of an attempted sexual assault within their lifetime, while over 100,000 will be targeted for kidnapping.  If you think it could never happen to you, think again.  Even if you have been lucky enough to avoid a dangerous situation thus far, you should not delay seeking a form of personal protection for the future.  And there are plenty of programs that you may not know about that can not only groom you to face an attacker, but can also do double duty by helping to get you in fighting shape.

  1. Kickboxing.  You have probably seen Billy Blanks and his infamous Taebo videos, or taken a kick-boxing class at your gym.  While you may have thought the routines were all about improving muscle tone, flexibility, and range of motion, you were only half right.  The moves taught in any standard kickboxing class can also be used for self defense (come on, it’s kicking and punching!).  However, you will probably want to take a class that focuses a bit more on how to use your moves in stressful attack situations so you don’t freeze up when the time comes.
  2. Gracie (or Brazilian) Jiu-Jitsu.  Fans of UFC greats from the Gracie family will no doubt recognize some of the moves used in this form of martial arts (who could forget the famous choke-holds that won them countless fights?).  Developed from Japanese Jiu-Jitsu, it focuses mainly on grappling techniques (pins, joint-locks, throws, etc.) that use the force, momentum, or energy of the attacker against him.  The reason this is an excellent program for women is that it generally aims to give a smaller or weaker opponent the advantage.
  3. Aikido.  This martial art is similar to Jiu-Jitsu in that its aim is to use the momentum of the attacker against him in order to deflect the force of the attack (with a variety of enter-and-turn techniques that lead to throws or joint locks).  However, while Jiu-Jitsu has plenty of offensive moves meant to immobilize the opponent, the main goal of Aikido is to avoid fighting (and injury…of both parties) if at all possible.  As such, the form stresses the ability to escape an attacker rather than fight him.
  4. Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).  More aggressive than many forms of martial arts, it nonetheless incorporates the techniques of several different fighting styles into one overarching program.  If you want to learn strikes, you will find them in MMA.  Grappling moves are also present, as are a variety of techniques designed for use both standing and on the ground.  This type of martial arts can be used for fitness and self-defense, but is generally considered a competitive sport.  But for the woman who wants to learn it all, MMA is an excellent and challenging option.
  5. Koo self-defense.  This niche martial art is hyped as a way to achieve self defense, physical fitness, and extreme power.  Most closely linked to Muay Thai, it combines cardiovascular fitness with flexibility and strength training through the use of such practices as kick boxing, interval training, resistance training, speed drills, and yoga, just to name a few.  It seems to offer the most intensive total body workout while still teaching street-fighting skills.

Jamie Myers is a writer for the popular self defense website Hertao, where you can find great tips and advice from the pros.

Have you ever taken a self defense class?

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