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Best Self Defense training for a Woman?

Discussion in 'The Martial Arts Forum' started by Stache, Jun 22, 2005.

  1. Stache


    Mar 29, 2002
    I've been directed to all of you from the NG forum for some expert suggestions.

    My question is...

    What would be the best defense (non-Martial Arts) training overall for a woman to learn, etc?

    I realize that Martial Arts takes years of practice to become proficient and I know this woman doesn't have the time or interest at this point to dedicate herself to that kind of regimen. So we'd be dealing with pure self-defense moves to ward off an assault, etc.

    The woman in question is 27, 5'2"/103 lbs, in good athletic shape and plays a lot of tennis, but she doesn't do any weightlifting so her strength is marginal.

    Here's the link to my original thread in the other forum:

    Thanks for any suggestions.

  2. gr81disp

    gr81disp Bushbot v1.0

    Sep 19, 2004
    Marietta, GA
    See my reply in the other forum.;f

  3. Roundeyesamurai

    Roundeyesamurai Sensei Member

    Jul 15, 2004
    Upstate New York
    Likewise, I replied to that other thread.

    However, here on this turf, I'll make specific recommendations (maintaining that this should be viewed with an eye to my comments in the other thread):

    For a smaller-statured person (in this case, VERY small-statured), I would avoid a martial system which emphasizes aggressively closing with the opponent. With due respect to gr81disp, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is probably a little too aggressively strength-oriented for a very petite woman- not that it can't work for her, but that there may be something better-oriented to her.

    Likewise, I would recommend against a striking-oriented system for the same reason.

    If the answer to the question I posed in the other thread is "Yes", then I would recommend my own style, aikido, not because of favoritism toward my own style, but because of the fact that it was developed by, and for, exceptionally small-statured persons, and with the specific intent of countering the aggressive attack.

    If you would like, feel free to PM me with your city and state of residence (or openly on the forum, if that suits you), and I'll be happy to help find a good school (of any martial art) near to you. This would also be helpful, because (as I frequently state) the instructor is much more important than the method. Finding a specific instructor in your area is a much more certain way to assure competent instruction than merely recommending a particular style.
  4. Brian@ITC

    Brian@ITC Instructor

    Dec 2, 2004
    Richmond, IN
    Personally, I feel that a lot of "martial arts" are not true self-defense systems. Therefore, you should choose wisely!!!

    Our website has some things listed you might find interesting for making a good choice. This is the second page of "Choosing The Right Martial Art".

    We teach women and childrens self-defense classes and my partner weighs 270 and is rock solid muscle. The women are throwing him around like he is nothing! I have been training nearly 20 years and I have learned a lot over the years. However, what we teach and what I have been taught are different in that when we made the curriculum, we did so with the thought that we might only see these women 3-6 months at best. During that time, what can we teach them in order to save their lives? We feel that our material covers just that. Sure, the longer someone trains the better chance they have, but most people these days aren't committed too much other than not being committed too much!

    Good luck in whatever you do!!!
  5. thetoastmaster

    thetoastmaster NOT a sheepdog!

    Please do not take this as being a smart-ass, because I don't mean it that way; but, for a 5'2", 103# woman, I would recommend an Emerson La Griffe, or Hideaway, and maybe a Kali or Escrima class.

    I'm not kidding. Disparity of force is a legitimate defense. Violence against women is often sexual in nature, and using deadly force is viable in that situation. Plus, in many Kali and Escrima school, empty hand attacks and weapon attacks are the same; so, she would only have to learn one system.

  6. Stache


    Mar 29, 2002

    No insult taken. Thanks for the suggestion. I'll pass it on to her along with my summary of the other ideas so she can decide what she wants to do.
  7. thetoastmaster

    thetoastmaster NOT a sheepdog!

    One of the biggest problems I've run into with women and the threat of violence is that they are often too squeemish to think about cutting someone. When I started my wife (then girlfriend) in FMA, I started her with a wooden trainer, as it does not look like a knife. Later, we progressed to a Spyderco Delica drone with (a matching live blade for carry). I tried to make the motions instinctive, and to not let her think too much about bleeding someone out.

    Hope that helps.

  8. sport69


    Feb 20, 2005
    Portage, Indiana
    A big blackbelt boyfriend!;)\

    JKA Shotokan karate teaches how to bring full power to your punch, I saw a small girl break a rather large guys ribs with one punch and dropped him like a sack of potatos, not on purpose of course;P

    Look for a JKA Shotokan school in your area and go watch a class it is traditional japan karate...
  9. zoobie

    zoobie just some guy Millennium Member

    Aug 14, 1999
    If self-protection is most important I'd recommend Michael Janich's martial blade concepts ( ) It's quick to learn and stresses using a few(12) techniques against many differant attacks. Little is more equalizing ahainst a larger stronger attacker than a sharp knife.
  10. FifthFreedom


    Jul 6, 2005

    I would have to respectufully disagree with the above post.
    BJJ does not require excessive strength. Self defense BJJ actually is a good way to teach a smaller person how to throw or submit a person bigger than oneself. Likewise with striking. I would give Krav Maga a look if I were her. I train in KM and it has alot of strikes but designed for vicious counter attacks, something a woman shouldhave a good grasp on as well as groin strikes, eye gouges, etc. It doesn't require a whole lot of physical power.
    Aikido is a great art, however I think you will agree, it takes a very long time for a student to get proficient enough to use the art on the street.
  11. bunkerbuster


    Mar 22, 2005

    Most of martial art places will strictly teach martial arts.

    Self defense classes are made to teach you how to get away from hostile situation, not beat someone up on the ring or get on a tournment. However, martial art can definetely assist in self defense.

    I would try to take thsoe classes that teaches you how to kick and run, scream for help, use pepper spray, and run for the cover. Again, take the martial art classes if you can as well.

  12. kravgrl


    Jul 25, 2005
    I'm a small person and I feel very cofident with Krav. I lifted weights for years and thought I was strong. I also thought I was mentally prepared to fight and was surprised to learn there was a part of me that didn't want "hurt" anyone. I'm not out looking for bar fights but I'm sure under an attack I could disable the attacker or minimize any damage done to me. I'm not disciplined enough for traditional martial arts so Krav really works for me.
  13. hkchris


    Apr 5, 2005
    The Army and the Marines have adopted modified brazilian Ju-jitsu. When I became an instructor there were 3 of us under 190lbs. I weigh about 165 and the two females in the class weighed about 130lbs. Everyone else were big, corn-fed, boys weighing between 180 & 240lbs. I can tell you that by the end of the week the one female who had never been hit or even in a fight was handling herself and not because people were letting her either.
    I guess my point is that in a SD situation that a woman would be in the element of surprise and the ability to actually hurt someone is what is needed.
    If someone tryed to assault the one female in particular they would be very surprised right before they passed out.
    My reccomendation would be a decent brazilian ju-jitsu school coupled with a boxing or maybe a Krav school (even though I don't like their one and two step fighting scenarios; just be aware that many of those scenarios will not actually work on the street). What you will gain though is the ability to defend yourself, the confidence to do so, and probably most important the resolve. The above (grappling and boxing) combination along with some women's self-defense classes that goes over mace, knives, sticks, & firearms is also a good supplement.

    Also, the philosophy behind combatives and brazilian jui-jitsu is train as you fight. This means you will get hit and no people aren't pulling punches. Another plus to ju-jitsu is that you really do train as you fight. You are not holding back because a move is "too dangerous" you are practicing exactly the same thing you will be doing when attacked.
  14. Egyas

    Egyas Troll Hater

    <smartass comment> Best defense for a woman? Become a master of chik-chik-POW! </smartass comment>

    Sorry folks, I'm in a mood today and I couldn't resist. :)