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Thread: Can the average woman really train to defend herself against a determined attacker?

  1. #1

    Default Can the average woman really train to defend herself against a determined attacker?

    Is there a style of fighting that the average woman can learn that would realistically make her more able to fight back against a determined attacker?

    When I see McDojo's promising to turn both men and women into awesome fighting machines I always think it's pretty low. But in the case of females I find it particularly cruel to give a woman the impression that she could ever realistically have a chance of fighting back (without a weapon) against a fifteen stone would be rapist.

    Here's what one woman supposedly says about starting new self defence classes with a female instructor.

    "For my birthday this year, my boyfriend handed me a voucher for private sessions with a personal trainer. I must admit I was disappointed. I didnít want to run around a field or do boring sessions in a gym with exercises I knew already and disliked. I didnít voice my disappointment, but maybe it was on my face. He explained: no, not that. Self-defence lessons, with a woman who will understand.

    I met up with Kirsty one Sunday afternoon in the park. I was terrified, I was always terrified. I walked through the park conscious of the dark spots in the trees, conscious that my panic and anxiety levels were nearly always this high, even on a bright, sunny day. We found each other on a patch of grass. She was so warm, so friendly while we talked about what I wanted to get out of these sessions, why my boyfriend had bought them for me. I cried while I told her about the ex. The person to who I had relinquished all control and power.

    The thing I remember most about those first few sessions was the feeling of control coming back. How to get out of a hair-grab, or an arm around the throat, or a hand around the wrist, how to push them away and not to stand and fight but to get out of it and disable them enough to run far away.

    What I began to love more than anything was the fight in me coming back, and that feeling was so addictive.

    I wouldnít say that I have turned into some kind of super woman, although working with Kirsty for several months now makes me want to be. There is still panic, still fear. Still seeing threats in innocuous places. But there is fight inside me now. There is the sense of power I lost for so long. A fire in my belly that reassures me I might not curl up into a ball again. You canít say what you will do in that situation, but the regular sessions have brought my mind and body together, repeating the techniques over and over, again and again to give me a fighting chance.

    Kirsty has taught me more than she could ever know, so much more than techniques Ė she has given back that particular kind of female strength that I lost, that resolute core running through me Ė because I donít want to be like a man, aggressive and angry. I want to be strong and confident and I would rather accept the world as it is with all its ugliness with Kirsty in my corner, teaching me how to take some control back."

  2. #2
    Moderator ross90's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009


    Unless the male is built like paul jono, then 99% of the time, No.

    Women, can sometimes out-technique men (female martial artists can kick ass most of the time). But unfortunately in these situations, they may be overpowered by men. As at the end of the day, men are stronger, genetically.

    Obviously Gina carano, or cyborg would be in the 1%
    How you expect to run with the wolves come night when you spend all day sparring with the puppies

  3. #3
    Senior Member Emmet J's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Lancaster and Morecambe MMA


    Can the average woman really train to defend herself against a determined attacker?

    Neither can most men.

    A 'determined' attacker implies somebody who has set their mind to doing something, as opposed to an opportunist. It would be hard for an opportunist burglar to break into my house, for example, because I'm security concious and have good locks that I use, but should someone be determined to get in they could just smash through the two front doors with a sledge hammer.

    If someone has determined to attack/mug/rape/kill you you're normally too engulfed by the situation when it happens to react in any meaningful way. The trick is not to be a super badass cagefighting man or woman but to be aware of dangerous situations, places and people and avoid them before it becomes an issue.

    You shouldn't really have the need to be a martial arts expert on 'the street' if you apply common sense. Many people who begin stories about how they were attacked begain with something like: "I was running late so i cut through the dodgy estate. I knew I shouldn't have but..." or "I knew something seemed wrong about the guy but..."

    Best self defense move for men and women: If a situation or person feels wrong then avoid it, because if someone is determined to do something to you there's often not as much that you can do about it as you'd like to imagine.

    As for those pesky opportunistic attackers, the best defense moves for women are all things that can't be practised properly, like eye gouges (because the joint lock crap that most women's self defense classes teach are just nonsense) and more importantly actually pulling them off requires a level of mental toughness and awareness in the face of adrenaline and fear that few people (men or women) have naturally and that cannot be realistically trained without repeated exposure to the situation, which thankfully most people don't get.
    LANCASTER AND MORECAMBE MMA - Home to Shay Walsh, Matty Steele and Alex 'The Marksman' Makhonin

  4. #4

  5. #5


    agree with Emmet on this one. I reckon the average bloke couldnt defend himself either. Without doubt, on average men are stronger than women because of the way we're physically built, but that will only help you to a certain extent.
    My brother is 33, isnt fit or big, or particularly strong, and is not used to violence. He would nearly always get fucked up by a 'determined' attacker. He's your average joe british male and thats the crack. Dont really see why women have been singled out here.
    Bullshit I can't hear you. Sound off like you got a pair!

  6. #6


    Quote Originally Posted by PieDog View Post
    Dont really see why women have been singled out here.
    Would you not say that it would be easier to train an average man to defend himself than an average woman?

  7. #7


    Quote Originally Posted by Iconoclast View Post
    Would you not say that it would be easier to train an average man to defend himself than an average woman?
    On average, yes. Although i know of some blokes who are so fucking pathetic, its laughable. I get your point though mate. If we're talking averages, then of course, majority of women couldnt fend off a reasonable sized bloke who wanted to try it on.
    I just remind myself there are defo a few birds who could still kick fuck out of me. Keeps me humble and grounded
    Bullshit I can't hear you. Sound off like you got a pair!

  8. #8


    yes, but not using "technique"
    If a girl can unexpectedly go beserk, she stands half a chance, not of winning a fight, but of getting a head start.

    You have to be talking about biting, gouging, thumbs in eyeballs, mental.

  9. #9


    i havnt found one yet and theres been plenty lol
    why is it the more you earn the less you have ?

  10. #10


    its a difficult one,

    it is possible for a woman to defend herself, but for her training to get her to a consistant level against a reasonably capable assailant, she could no longer really be considered an 'average' woman. the effort required would make her the exception rather than the rule, for the best chance she would need a skill level roughly equivalent to a profession female fighter (MMA, boxing, Judo etc)

    quick fix courses dont offer this type of training, nor could they.

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