Sigh. I am not making myself clear. My questions do not pertain to one’s gender. I am simply looking for some inspiration. What can be done? I have not been spending the last um-teen years training in ten various martial arts, nor shooting pistols. I am a 38yo mother of two and have only recently gotten acquainted with the issues related to this site. I have limited time. What have folks done so amass a sense of security where they had relatively none before? I like Dogs’ and others suggestions to look into martial arts and I will (although at first glance cost may be an issue for me). I love Aaron Moyers’ Run-Fu. There is a lot to that, although I am not satisfied with only getting in better shape.
Plenty clear to me and if this works to inspire you then mission accomplished.
Given that time and cost are constraints for you (and all of us to varying degrees) I still think you can find a program that will establish and/or raise your current level of proficiency to the point where you can extract a sense of security from your efforts.
Will you be competing in the MMA Octogan and knocking people out within two years? Probably not. Even after 15+ years, if I saw Anderson Silva coming across the ring at me, I’d tap out as soon as the bell rang.
The point I’m trying to make is whatever you do, whatever you can do from a cost and time constrained perspective is going to be better than doing nothing. Sifu Bruce Lee has a great saying “Everyone knows something you do not. Learn from them.” Time and money spent in a martial arts studio, music lesson, art class, yoga class, whatever it may be is in almost all cases going to be worth it. If you learn something you did not know when you went in then you had a successful session.
Guro Inosanto used to remind us at his seminars that we need to focus on what we learned from what was presented. Given the spectrum of experience in the students, he would present material from beginnner to advanced practitioner. The beginners might “get” 2-3 techniques of 15 presented because that is all they were capable of processing given their current experience and proficiency level. Conversely, the advanced students “only” learned 2-3 techniques of the 15 presented because they already knew the other 12. With time you add another layer of proficiency that can help build that sense of security and confidence you are looking for. Focus on what you learned and your personal growth rather than whether or not you think you are learning it fast enough or getting “good” enough.
And you will likely be pleasantly surprised at how much you learn in what you will look back on and consider to be a short time frame.
I will offer a different perspective than others who have posted here I believe. I am 80 1/2 years old. My great grandson tells me he is 8 3/4 years old. Thirty years ago I took some Karate courses and felt I could defend myself reasonably well. Now I am 30 years older and stiff of joints and short of breath. I swim, on average, 3 times a week, from 30 to 45 minutes, but set absolutely no olympic records.
When you are confronted by a bad guy or two, and they are seconds from you, the police are minutes away. If you are attacked, the police will show up, perhaps call an ambulance, file their reports and their job is done. Personal safety is a right and responsibility of all of us. I carry a gun because carrying a policeman around is too heavy and awkward.
Mace and pepper spray are alternatives. Also, when you are walking out of a store, if you have your key fob in your hand, hitting the alarm button will attract a lot of attention. Being alert is very important. Bad guys want the advantage of surprise.
The time hasn’t come yet, but is on the way, when personal protection will be an important issue. If you have watched the CM course, you know it is coming. Owning a gun doesn’t mean you can protect yourself. Just like any tool, you must learn how to use it and you must practice, practice, practice. I suggest the services of a hand gun instructor. I can draw and fire my weapon in less than two seconds. And hit the target. Unless I am not paying any attention, that will be quick enough. And use personal protection ammunition, hollow points, for protection.
This is my opinion. Just like noses, everyone has one.
Aarondenal, I can add a couple of observations from a woman’s perspective, if that helps. When (much!) younger, I took Tae Qwan Do–some Kung Fu. I found Tae Qwan Do was very hard on my back (lower lumbar vertebrae) from the snap that creates force behind the punches, even though I had been dancing for several years and was in good physical shape. I had many years of back problems from the damaged vertebrae till swimming, dance exercises and yoga helped do away with a lot of that.
Other woman friends in my class ended up with damaged knees (we were all in our late teens/early twenties). A lower center of gravity and wide hips contributed to my back issues and I suspect the slightly looser ligaments that some female hormones promote (think a lot of stretching going on in childbirth) might have acerbated the knee issues, etc. I found Kung Fu an easier discipline physically. Learning Tai Chi and doing yoga for teaching your body how to deal with panic so you don’t hyperventilate and you can keep breathing deeply is a good practice that pays off. Both arts did provide training in situational awareness as well as a sense of self-confidence that sent messages while walking in some questionable areas around campus that ” this is not a victim here.”
About seven years later, I took my son through hunter safety as a single mom and our range instructor, who taught police and FBI, wanted to teach a women’s course in self-defense. About 7-8 of us signed up. Without exception, it was the best training I ever had and it was almost entirely about situational awareness and training your body/mind to react appropriately to potential threats. He had us role-playing responses till we had patterned reactions that were survival-oriented. I still carry a Mag flashlight in the car and know why you never answer a door with a gun in your hand after you have called 911 to report a shooting (!?) (guess?) What we found out when role-playing having an intruder enter your bedroom while sleeping was that every one of us waited too long to pull the trigger when we had access to a concealed gun within reach. So better training or no gun.
I concur about getting ground-based training, as the height/weight differences can be lessened if you and your assailant are both on the ground (assuming your assailant is bigger and more powerful phyically than you are.) Many people, especially women, apparently resist going down when in some situations it may be your best option.
Aaron’s Run Fu was ‘translated’ for us as “Fleet Feet.” Put them down and run like h*ll, was our mantra. Being prepared to fight “dirty” if such a concept exists is totally necessary–you do what you can with what you have to deal with the situation and get out, as fast as possible.
(If a gun starts to look a necessary option, given your profession as a midwife, there are women’s shooting chapters that meet for practice and to share resources. Check out your local gun range for information.)
Good luck and cultivate all six senses.
Thanks everyone. Great stuff.
Nacci, being self-reliant and staying out of the way, at least during major panics, is what I am cultivating all the time. Thanks for the clear message.
Dogs and nickbert, you are a wealth of info.
Juli, very good info to consider, especially regarding the last bit that was most helpful. Do you remember what it was called that you did? Have you seen or heard of anything like it since? I appreciate it very much.
Golden age, I appreciate your input, although am not certain about my relationship with a gun at this time. I have the little ones to consider…
Here’s where I am:
I am currently getting more amped for “Run-Fu” training, although I am doing okay on that score. I need to work on endurance, as exercise for me mostly consists of hauling my 30lb+ 18mo. boy around and chasing my 4 year old.
I have looked into several resources for general self-defense and also ongoing training in a martial art. I like the philosophy of some of the martial arts stuff too.
I am interested in the “learning about your surroundings” bit.
Golden age, I appreciate your input, although am not certain about my relationship with a gun at this time. I have the little ones to consider…
If you would like to think about this some more, the website The Cornered Cat has a wealth of information. It is written specifically for women, by a woman who is a firearms instructor. It deals with all the issues one should consider, including ethical questions, and children in the home. I highly recommend it for men as well. Kathy Jackson is superb.
I am thinking of having my pre-teen son take up martial arts, both for the self-defense aspect of it, and for the mental/physical discipline aspect of it. He is a little bit of a couch potato, and I would like to get him on a better path before it is too late (well, never too late, but harder). I also want him to be able to defend himself in the world he’s going to grow up in.
There are a number of classes offerred locally. One that caught my eye was Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for kids. They describe it as "martial arts, combat sport & self-defense system." They say that the principle is that a smaller, weaker person can defend against a bigger, stronger assailant with leverage and proper technique, such as joint-locks and chokeholds.
They also offer Combat Submission Wrestling (CSW) for kids, a blended grappling and striking system. They claim is offers the best standing, clinch, takedowns tackles, submissions, strokes and throws from a number of other disciplines (judo, freestyle wrestling, Brazilian Jio-Jitsu, etc).
My son loves wrestling around with his dad, and likes "posing" like he knows how to kick-box. But I am interested in him having him develop some real substance skill-wise behind the "show" he puts on now, while pursuing a discipline that he may really enjoy learning.
Can you folks who know about martial arts give me your thoughts and advice? If you have alternative suggestions, I welcome them as well.
Thanks in advance!
One thing I can tell you for certain is BJJ (Brazilian Ju Jitsu) will definitely give him a FULL workout…
I have only a modest amount of experience with BJJ, mostly as cross-over training where my Kung Fu San Soo classes shared a studio with BJJ classes, but IMO it’s a very useful discipline. My instructor encouraged us to cross-train with the BJJ class, because as he said "a little ground-fighting knowledge goes a long way". He’s right… I may not be very polished with many of the joint-locks and some of the offensive techniques, but I know what to do (or more importantly, what NOT to do) and how to defend when taken to the ground or faced with a ground-fighter. And yes, many of the techniques work very well irrespective of size differences. Being a grappling and ground-fighting style it loses some utility when faced with more than one attacker, but that’s a small quibble and it’s nothing that a little cross-training in other disciplines doesn’t easily make up for (and quite often BJJ practitioners are cross-trained some in a striking discipline of some sort, at least in my limited experience). Not everyone enjoys or ‘takes’ to grappling and ground-work, but it is really useful and I recommend it. Even if he ends up hating it, he should still learn a lot.
I don’t know anything about their Combat Submission Wrestling, but it sounds a little like the mixed martial arts disciplines that are growing in popularity. It might be useful or it might be "meh", as the MMA experience and teaching can vary widely. But if they do dedicated BJJ classes there, odds are it has some value. I’d say maybe start him with BJJ, and later see if he wants to try the CSW as well. Some studios that offer multiple classes will let you take both kinds for little extra cost.
Whatever you pick, I think the biggest benefit for him might be (earned) self-confidence and self-awareness, which will help him avoid fights he doesn’t need to get into in the first place. It’s better for him to pick that up early than learn the hard (and painful) way later .
As an old-timer martial artist, I would say go with the Brazilian JJ class first. These days, I see a lot of people train in hybrid mixed-martial art systems, and while they tend to learn a large spectrum of techniques, they never "master" any particular technique or skill set.
The key to effective self-defense and personal development is training techniques until they become unconscious reflex patterns originating in the lower brain and spinal cord. If you have to "think" about your technique in a real world situation, you are already too late. Your son is much more likely to develop his technique to this level in a more traditional martial art class like BJJ, than in the CSW class IMO.
Having said this, the most important thing that you could do as his parent is let him choose the class to take. Whatever he chooses, he should really be excited about learning it if he is going to get something from it. You will know that he is on the right path when he is practicing his techniques while being a couch potato, lol (but seriously).
The best thing that I have from gained from my martial arts training over the years is the many life-long friends that I have made from it. I still have two good friends from my first training in Karate over 35 years ago, when I was just 7 years old. We are all old and fat now, but our friendships remain strong.
Nickbert and JAG, thanks so much for your insights and advice! I think we will go check out the BJJ class and see what my son thinks about it. I will let you know what happens if we do!
I personally really like the "Real Alert" app. I have never HAD to use the 911 instant button but it makes me feel better that it is there. Recently, on my school campus there was seen a suspicious character or whatever but there wasn’t too many details. This app even has a creepo detail button to immediately input details (a fill in the blank sort of form) for any creepos so all the things are fresh in your mind. It has a locate nearest hospital, instant 911, siren, and a friend button if you want to just have a friend on the phone if you feel in a bad situation but it isn’t a situation to call 911. Over all an awesome app. I suggest everyone, male and female, download it. Hopefully you never have to use it but it is nice to have! "Real Alert" I think it is on iPhone and Android. Not sure about Microsoft phones though.