Submitted by Heather Howe
What We All Need to Know About Self-Defence.
When I talk with women about self-defence, one of the most common questions I get is “Can I do it? I’m not very strong.” Most of us have not been raised to see ourselves as strong or powerful. We’ve grown up believing we are too weak to successfully defend ourselves against a bigger, stronger attacker. We’ve been told to rely on the men in our lives to defend us, for example, to make sure we have a man with us if we are going to be out after dark.
We’re given bad information about self-defence. Look at what we see in the movies and on TV: when women run away they trip or run into a dead-end alleyway. They pound ineffectively on a huge attacker’s chest as he overpowers them. They either get killed or they wait for a man to rescue them. Or they’re Cat Woman, defending themselves with super-human powers that we can never hope to have. Neither portrayal is realistic and both are harmful.
Here’s what we’re not told about self-defence: the majority of women and girls who have successfully defended themselves had no self-defence or martial arts training. They made it up. You don’t have to be an athlete or a ninja to defend yourself. In Wen-Do, we collect and share success stories from women and girls as young as 5 and as old as early 90s because we want women to understand that we are stronger, smarter, and more creative than the world (and ourselves!) gives us credit for.
So here’s what you need to know about self-defence.
- We are all strong enough to physically defend ourselves. The key is to use our stronger body parts against an attacker’s weaker body parts. It doesn’t matter how strong or muscular someone is, their nose is still a vulnerable target and our fist is stronger than that nose. Our fist is stronger than their collar bone and our foot is stronger than their shin. Think about what strong body parts you have available and how you could target an attacker’s weaker body parts.
- Self-trust is key. It doesn’t matter how much self-defence or martial arts training you have, if you don’t trust your gut you may not feel comfortable defending yourself verbally or physically. You might not give yourself permission to leave an uncomfortable situation. If you get a bad gut feeling about someone or a situation, you don’t have to write down 3 logical reasons why you feel that way. You can do what you need to do to be safe and you can do it without apology.
- Self-defence doesn’t always mean physical self-defence. Self-defence can be leaving an uncomfortable or scary situation. It can be saying no or telling someone to back off. It can be using humour to confront a harasser.
- Finally, if something has happened to you or does happen to you, it is never your fault! It doesn’t matter if you used self-defence or not. It doesn’t matter if you were drinking or what you were wearing. When someone chooses to assault another person, it is their choice and they are responsible. You deserve support and help is available.
If you are interested in learning more about self-defence or how to get Wen-Do Women’s Self Defence into your company or organization, contact Heather Howe at email@example.com or call 705-741-8797.