Violence. Such a nasty word. Ugh. Bad people do it, not good people. And men more so than women, right? Right.
Because men are big hairy brutes (say hi to Oog over in the corner there), and women are delicate flowers who put the backs of their hands to their foreheads and faint at the slightest provocation. Certainly they're not capable of that nasty word, "violence"!
Except for the grandma who beans the robber with a cast-iron pan. Violence.
Except for the woman who hides in her attic with her kids and shoots the home invader several times as he comes up the ladder (he got back in his vehicle and drove off, they found him at the hospital). Violence.
Except for pretty much any mother defending her kid from a threat. Violence.
But that word "violence"... people don't like it. And there's a perception that women, especially, don't like it. So heaven forfend that they actually be taught - as if they didn't already know - how to commit violence on purpose!
We recently ran across a place which offered women's self defense classes, in addition to their other, unrelated curricula.
They said that to defend yourself:
- violence such as groin shots, eye gouges, scratching etc. are unnecessary (they didn't use the word "unnecessary", but the tenor of the language implied it)
- you don't have to learn to throw a kick or a punch
- submission holds should be used on attackers
We disagree on all of the above points.
We do, however, agree with these points they made:
- you can learn to defend yourself using leverage and natural body movement
- a smaller person can defend themselves against a larger attacker
- you shouldn't rely on things like pepper spray, car keys etc.
And we sort of agree with this point: self defense is much different than learning to fight.
It is different because one is sport, one is not. (We'll let you figure out which is which, dear reader.) On the other hand, learning how to fight in self defense is not really much different than learning how to fight for sport. (Well, except for all the sport rules that you break when it's self defense. So there's that...)
Women at our self defense seminars and in our classes have always been quite happy with the idea of groin shots, kicking the threat's knee sideways, and inflicting other forms of violence on a threat. They understand that it's the threat or them.
Look: if someone is trying to - or is already - committing violence on you, commit it right back if you can't get away. They've earned it. If you're not willing to use the appropriate level of violence, things will very likely only get worse for you.
You only use the level that's appropriate - and if running away or giving the threat your purse or wallet is appropriate and gets rid of them, that's fine, too. Your goal is not to stick around and beat the threat into submission, it's to disengage and get away to safety. (So when you see a video where a woman gets attacked, puts the guy on the ground, and books, that's exactly what she needs to do, not stick around and "finish him off!!!" as commenters often opine.)
Submission holds? Uh, no. We do teach restraining holds at our school - but we emphasize in no uncertain terms that they are for one-on-one situations ONLY. If you're involved in restraining somebody, you're hampered and disadvantaged - to a lesser or greater degree, depending on the hold - and you're staying, not leaving and getting to safety. (And by the way, a "submission" hold is... for sport. You get points.)
People don't like the word "violence". And nice people don't commit violence. Only bad people do.
Reword that and reprogram your brain:
Nice people only commit violence when necessary, to protect themselves or a loved one, and to disengage, get away, and report the incident.