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Self Defense For Women and Girls

Updated on September 18, 2010

When people think of a self-defense class, they often think of martial arts or some fancy moves to get away from an attacker.  Google “women’s self-defense techniques” and there are articles on attack points and videos on how to give a quick, swift kick to the groin or how to poke an eye out with a finger.  (You may have tried these moves in the living room on your older brother.) 

But that’s not all there is to a self-defense class designed for women.  The essential part of self-defense is what you are taught before the fancy self-defense moves.  They are life-lasting, life-changing elements, and this is why I believe every young girl and woman should take a self-defense class--not a martial arts class.

"Please Remove Your Hand From My Thigh"

The essential part of self-defense is not the moves; its how to handle an attack before you are attacked: learning assertive behavior and confidence for deterrence; being aware of your surroundings in order to locate a car or person who is following you; finding and using your voice; good posture; making eye contact. Once these things are learned, your entire demeanor changes, and an aura surrounds you that says, “Don’t even think of messing with me.”

A self defense course, designed by women and for women only, teaches not just life-saving techniques against an attack, but teaches women how to handle issues that arise throughout life just because they are women.

Women are often victims of power-based crimes. Power-based crimes encompass sexual harassment, domestic violence, stalking, etc. After taking a self defense class for women, “Please remove your hand from my thigh,” seems to flow out of your mouth as if it was the first sentence you learned to say. This is something that only feminists can teach, especially to young women.

Age Appropriate Self-Defense?

“Age-appropriate” self defense, often offered to children ages 8 through 17, is a fairly ridiculous idea if you think about it. First and foremost, sexual predators don’t decide not to attack someone because they are under the age of 18, and it is inappropriate. They are more apt to seek someone who is young, timid and shy, simply because sexual predators are seeking the high feeling they get from committing a power-based crime.

Secondly, if your daughter has reached middle school, she has been thrown into situations that might make her feel uncomfortable. For example, you need to ask yourself, as a parent, if your daughter is likely to tell a boy at a school dance that he is too close and needs to keep his distance. If you don’t believe she would be able to do this without hesitation, your daughter needs to learn assertive behavior quickly, because these types of situations will only increase with each passing year.

Your daughter will soon be driving, going out on dates, perhaps finding employment, and a great way to ensure that she has the ability to end behavior that might perpetuate from just a feeling of being uncomfortable to sexual harassment, or worse, is by enrolling her in a self-defense class for women. You will be giving your daughter a life-time of knowledge that she will be able to utilize in every aspect of her life.

Some courses may be extremely costly, like RAD (Rape Aggression Defense) and Model Mugging, but if you have the extra money, it is well worth the investment. Most of these courses, and the type I recommend, require a permission slip if she is under the age of 18.

Some cities offer low-cost, basic self-defense training as a community class. You could also look into your local YMCA. Another option is to call a local college, community or university, and find out if they are offering any courses. A basic self-defense class for women will often be posted on college campus bulletin boards.

If you feel like being proactive, another option is to lobby your daughter’s school district, even at the state level, in order to enact self-defense in the physical education program. This is currently being done in California as a result of the recent rape and murder of two young women.

As I indicated, the type of self-defense class I highly recommend is a women’s only self-defense program. This type of class is designed specifically for women and girls, because women and girls often find themselves in situations that males usually never encounter, like sexual harassment in the workplace.


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    • profile image

      Joey Bennett 

      8 years ago

      Taking a self defense is a great idea. It can also be a great way to bond with your children, family, and friends. I agree with Jim that men should also take a self defense course. It is better to be too prepared in a situation like that, than not prepared enough.

    • Deni Edwards profile imageAUTHOR

      Jenifer L 

      8 years ago from california

      Ok, Jim, I agree with you--but how about "especially women"?

      Thanks for reading and your comment!

    • Jim Bryan profile image

      Jim Bryan 

      8 years ago from Austin, TX

      Voted "Up." Everyone (not just women) should learn assertiveness, self-defense, and survival techniques.

    • Deni Edwards profile imageAUTHOR

      Jenifer L 

      8 years ago from california

      Thanks for visiting Jillian and Martie and your comments!

      I took one of these classes when I was 17, and I still consider it the most important class I've ever taken, and it was fun, too!

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      I needed these classes ages ago. Have to share this hub now with my children. Voted up!

    • Jillian Barclay profile image

      Donna Lichtenfels 

      8 years ago from California, USA

      Another great hub, Deni! All parents should consider this. So many kids are afraid to say no to an adult; they are often told to listen to teachers, listen to coaches, listen to ministers, listen, listen, listen. As long as some one is an adult, you must listen to them. Kids need to know that it is okay to say, "No! Get away!" and it is a great idea to teach, especially young girls, how to be assertive. The martial arts can come later.


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