I was reading a blog post the other day about the difference between self-defense programs for women versus ones for men. And I’d have to say I agree with almost everything they said. The short of it is:
1) Attacks against men and attacks against women tend to be very different. Attacks against men are usually about proving that they are stronger (and therefore better) than the other person. Attacks against women tend to be sexual in nature.
2) If you are being sexually assaulted, you will almost always be attacked in a close range. Therefore, long distance defenses are practically worthless for women. (I don’t really believe that long distance attacks are worthless, because you never know who you will be defending against.)
3) The type of an attack against a woman is going to be very different from an attack against a man. Women need to know how to fight from the ground and in close proximity to the assailant (being able to defend against bear hugs and chokes, having your hair pulled, etc).
This is what I love about Krav Maga. They teach you defenses for all sorts of situations in which you may be attacked: on the ground, in a choke, from the front, side, and back, with a gun, with a knife, in a car, on a plane…
the list goes on. In other martial arts, you have to be committed to learning the styles and forms before you get to the real meat of self-defense. Even then, you may never learn how to defend yourself against a gun or knife attack.
In Krav Maga, I continually see self-defense courses for women and I’m impressed by all the girls who take the time to go to them. My introduction into Krav Maga was through a four hour women’s self-defense seminar at a local Krav Maga gym in San Francisco. After that, I was hooked.
I saw all the ways someone could attack me and I was terrified of the billion other ways I could be attacked that we didn’t cover. So I became a member of the Krav Maga community and started going at least once a week.
As someone who has experienced both women-only and co-ed classes, I have to say being in a class with men has definitely helped my self-confidence and skill in Krav Maga.
In a women’s only class, you always pair up with other women. This is fine for awhile. Eventually, however, you should try to partner up with someone bigger and stronger than you, so you can prepare for the reality of being attacked.
With all that in mind, I encourage all women to take a women’s only self-defense Krav Maga class. But view it as an appetizer course and eventually take co-ed Krav Maga self-defense classes to really prepare yourself.