I am often asked if we have Women’s Self-Defense classes. The answer is seminars occasionally and classes no. Here is why.
Master Combatives instructor Kelly McCann once pointed out to a group of instructor candidates that if there is some kind of amazing effectiveness to skills just taught to women, why would you not teach them to men too? He is completely right. If a strike or techniques would work well for a woman against a man, why would you not teach it to a man as well? This is why our curriculum at Faction is the exact same regardless of gender. If it works, it works.
On that same token, when facilities do solely Women’s Self Defense classes they are doing those women a major disservice. A woman is more likely to be attacked by a man. Ladies take those classes to be able to protect themselves against a man. So how can you really pressure test and refine the skills you learn if you aren’t practicing against a man. The answer is you can’t. Sometimes you get instructors that dress up in gear and want you to believe you are really working them over with what they showed you. When in reality what you need is some big oaf to put it on and not care if your technique works or not. That is the benefit to a class with both genders.
Thing is, we regularly test our skills and techniques. One thing that I find happens often with the ladies in class that just want to pair up with other women, is they get a false sense of confidence. It’s only when you have some big guy in class come over and REALLY put the choke on do you see how important the violence of action in the moves you are doing are, and what it feels like when you are really being choked and have that adrenaline rush. You have to train not only the skills, but your ability to deal with the potential panic from REAL attacks. Because that is the reality of the situation you face outside.
Why then do Women’s Self-Defense seminars? The thing is a seminar is really only there to create exposure. It would be impossible to master anything in such a short duration or even cover enough topics. Women tend to prefer training with other women, and I get that. The Seminar format is to get women comfortable with what we do in a more comfortable environment initially. Fact is, it takes a bit of courage to walk in the door to try something new anyways. So if it gets women in the door to get their feet wet and get them comfortable to take the next step in their training, it’s worth it. The other aspect is due to the short timeframe of seminars, we can specifically cover the most common attacks women face.
At the end of the day, if a woman takes her ability to defend herself seriously, the best thing she can do is join in on a mixed gender self-defense class. Even better, partner up with a man that is willing to pressure her so she really refines her skills to handle reality.