Contact or non-Contact self defense?

Discussion in 'Women of the Martial Arts (Women Martial Artists)' started by lvwhitebir, Aug 15, 2002.

  1. lvwhitebir

    lvwhitebir Guest

    I've been teaching for a while and I've done a few self-defense classes for men and women. It seems that women are uneasy about striking, even to pads? I know that most of the people here are martial artists, but do you find this common?

    There are alternative self defense classes that teach more of how to conquer the adreneline response, using scenario drills to help you learn to not freeze up and keep the attacker at bay. Do you find these more appropriate or should it be added to a contact class?


    My particular view is that you should have contact in self defense courses, just so you know how to react when it comes down to it. Otherwise you can just get a book. My particular class format has them learn the strikes (no punches, just heel palms, elbows and such), then strike to pads, and then finally, striking a moving, live attacker. But if having contact classes mean the difference between not training or training, is it really any better?

    What is the female perspective?

    WhiteBirch
     
  2. Shoto Tiger

    Shoto Tiger Guest

    Hi,

    I personally feel you cannot do self defence without close contact. I'll admit when I first started training, I found it very odd to have someone in my 'space'. However, I now realise that as I do Shotokan, I don't really have anyone 'that' close to me. Most of what I have been taught so far has been at arms length. So I took up self defence.

    In the first few lessons of any martial art you have to overcome the language barrier, the odd manouvers and the ettiquette. Then they ask you to try and hit some one you've never met before. It is a little off-putting, however, you do not (and should not IMO) enter training for a martial art without realising you will get sweaty, dirty, bruised and possibly end up hurting some one else. I have seen other female recruits that just can't handle this, which is fair enough.

    I am no one special, never, ever been in a fight in my life before (before I started or since I started training), I weigh 9 stone and am 5'5" but if you don't have the right attitude to learning self defence you won't pick it up.

    I recently wrote an article about self defence awareness on another forum (not sure if I'm allowed to link so won't :) ) but basically, I don't think my training has made me invicible or anything - just taught me to be aware of my surroundings and I hope! to react to any aggressive physical intent towards me.

    Without contact (person or bags/pads) in my training, I am sure I wouldn't learn timing, speed, reaction or self control. You should keep it in the class I reckon. :)
     
  3. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    It's certainly fine by us. We link to articles on sites like E-Budo all the time.

    -Arnisador
    -MT Mod-
     
  4. Shoto Tiger

    Shoto Tiger Guest

  5. sweeper

    sweeper Guest

    well I'm not female but I'll throw in my opinion anyway.

    Most self deffence situations come about by poor awareness of your environment, I think simply educating people as to how to spot a potential attacker, when/where not to be, etc.. you could prevent alot of self deffence situations. Physical self deffence starts to operate once things have gone down hill quite a bit, so it might be posable to seperate self deffence into two classes, awareness education and physical, that way someone who doesn't want to hit people could take one and at leaste get some benafit.
     
  6. Eraser

    Eraser Guest

    Sweeper,

    Right on Dude... ya .. you gotta be aware of where your are going.. if you end up in a situation where there or 3 attackers and 2 of them know how to use a knife (meaning not held up in plain view if you get my drift) WHAT WHERE YOU DOING THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE???? Trust me.. if the road is dark Im not going down it!!!

    Thats all..


    oh p.s.... I love the hard kicking that we do in class.. a bounus side of it, besides that fact that im learning to breaks other peoples bones.. its a GREAT Stress reliever.. ooooo when my forman (yes he's a man.. uggg, no offence guys) is a royal jerk.. its always so nice to go to the dojang and swipe away at the kicking pads.. hehehehhe and you can guess who im thinking of at that precise time too!! LOL :rofl:


    OK now that's all....
     
  7. Kenpo Wolf

    Kenpo Wolf Guest

    You get out of the martial arts or self defense classes what you put into them. In other words, if you play 'patty cake' in class, your techniques won't matter a bit in the street. To train realisticaly for street situations, you have to train the defenses full contact so you won't pull your punches out of habit
     
  8. lvwhitebir

    lvwhitebir Guest

    Thanks for the link and your insight on your training. And thanks everyone for your comments as well. Do you find that other women look strangely at you because you study MA, as if you're too aggressive or something? In my regular classes, the women tend to work out OK, hitting the pads good enough, but not really getting into the contact sparring yet. But in the self-defense side, they seem to be really, really shy. Is it their attitude in general about being non-agressive, or is it perhaps they just don't know me yet, and don't know what to expect? Any ideas on how to break through that attitude?

    WhiteBirch
     
  9. Shoto Tiger

    Shoto Tiger Guest

    I have been looking for another job on and off over the past few months and about 2 months ago I applied for a position, basically exactly the same role I am in now and liked my chances to make it to an interview. I found out shortly afterwards that they didn't even want to interview me. I called up to find out why and was told that as I had put down Martial Arts as an interest, they were concerned I was going to be 'violent and ill-tempered'!!!

    This is before they even met me and found out I did stick fighting!

    I think I would have understood to a certain degree if they had said because they were worried about injuries, but this...???

    Out of my circle of female friends I suppose a couple of the girls have said its not very femine and 'how could you hit someone?' but most think its a great idea but like the idea of aerobics more (???).

    "In my regular classes, the women tend to work out OK, hitting the pads good enough, but not really getting into the contact sparring yet."

    I have to admit I had trouble with this myself. I have never been involved in a fight and had this silly desire to not be hit when I first started. I guess its down to a persons background and upbringing. Most girls play hopscotch at school and patta cake, most boys play football and hit each other for fun (?). I soon got into the adrenaline rush though and the fact I could hit others with a vague chance that if I moved fast enough they wouldn't be able to hit me back. Still waiting for that to happen though :(

    "But in the self-defense side, they seem to be really, really shy. Is it their attitude in general about being non-agressive, or is it perhaps they just don't know me yet, and don't know what to expect? Any ideas on how to break through that attitude?"

    Easy...tell them from the first day and demonstrate how close you will eventually end up working. I know normally you don't want to put people (women) off at the beginning but unfortunately some women have real 'issues' which led them to take up self defence in the first place. As they are new to the class and you they may not feel to happy about explaining them to you either. At the last dojo I was at we had a woman who had been attacked and raped, she found it difficult to work with women almost as much as the men, it was the physical closeness that bothered her. I am pleased to say she has now moved onto other martial arts and is now a Green belt. She's done very well. I believe it is as much that as the fact that 'most' women have a more closeted upbringing and don't get expected to rough and tumble it as the boys do. Social pressures and peer groups design a peson as much as their home life does.

    Most people really have no idea what to expect from MA training, I sure didn't. I had no idea it was going to be so repetitive for a start and that level of commitment isn't everyones cup of tea.

    You seem very sympathetic and open to suggestions though. I would personally be delighted to attend one of your classes were that possible :)
     
  10. sweeper

    sweeper Guest

    I know what you mean. I have met very few women who were willing to even visit a martial arts class.. but I do know some that don't seem to care about hitting and getting hit. In my class it seems that women initialy might be a little uneasy about getting hit, but after they get over that it takes them a wial to feal comfortable hitting others.. they always go realy light.

    I actualy had the oposite problem.. years of soccer have ingrained in me to try to smack my head up against round objects moving twards me at high speed... you have no idea how many punches I have eaten.. one time I litteraly choked on my mouthguard from ducking into a punch combo.
     
  11. Aikikitty

    Aikikitty Master Black Belt

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    I think Contact in a self-defense class is important. A person is going to have contact if they really get attacked anyway.

    This is a little silly but I'll tell it anyway. I've always been one of those girls who doesn't really care for public displays of affection and I really didn't enjoy being around those girls who go around hugging everybody in friendship. :erg: It took quite awhile for me to get used to the extremly "up close and personal" part of Aikido but now I'm so used to it that I don't think twice about it. Because of that, I don't mind all those people who go around hugging people anymore and that's just one little thing that's nice that I don't have to worry about. :rolleyes: :D

    Also for the Contact Self-Defense, I'm still a big "flincher" and I have a hard time even punching the pads/bags/whatever-they-
    are. I still have a lot to learn and a lot of "hurdles" to get over.

    Robyn :asian:

    :yinyang:
     
  12. Nightingale

    Nightingale Senior Master

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    Everyone, especially women, feel awkward hitting or kicking something at first. the more you do it, the more you get used to it. You can't do self defense without contact, although it should probably be light contact.
     
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  13. Eraser

    Eraser Guest

    hmmmm, here's a thought... I never grew up in school playing patty cake and skip(dont' get me wrong im sure it was fun) BUT I was with the boys playing street hockey, soccer, baseball,
    Is that why i like being thrown around at times??? hehehehe ROFL.. Who knows!!:confused:
     
  14. Nightingale

    Nightingale Senior Master

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    I grew up around boys also. It wasn't deliberate, it was just that I was the only girl in my neighborhood, so my early childhood was surrounded with boys my age. We played cowboys and indians, kickball, and tag. I continued the associations with boys through gradeschool and high school and college, and I find a lot of females are very vicious and catty. I don't play games, I'm a very straightforward person, and if I've got a problem with you, I come right out and say it and don't play the "guess what's bothering me" game. I think I don't play those games because I never learned how. LOL.

    I got used to rough play, and I frequently played baseball (not softball! They're two different games, darnit!) and tackle football with my friends (and yes, I can throw a decent spiral), who sometimes actually FORGOT that I was female, because I was just one of the gang. I wouldn't have been caught dead in a dress. (now, I actually enjoy being girly on occasion, but not in grade school) I guess I just kind of got used to the bumps and bruises, so karate and I get along quite well.

    as a sidenote:
    I didn't own a barbie doll until I was 10, and when I got it (a gift from my aunt) I had no idea whatsoever what to do with it. LOL. It sat on the shelf, discarded in favor of the new baseball glove my friend Brent gave me.

    I do have a few female friends, but they mostly tend to be tomboys like me. I don't tend to get along well with people who are afraid to get their hands dirty or afraid they might break a nail. Also, most females aren't interested in the stuff I'm interested in: Star Trek, Karate, and Classic Mustangs.
     
  15. Eraser

    Eraser Guest

    NIght...

    I think we both fell out of the same tree.. your childhood seems very similar to mine (though i did spend most of it out in the backyard swamp catching various frogs, turltles and things)
    You'll never see me in a dress (ok i can count on one hand how many times ive worn one and that was because i was standing up in a wedding) I love football, Hockey, Nascar, and of course MA.. and im quite proud of my cuts and bruises!! :D

    Therefore.. contact in my MA hasn't been a problem for me, now I have Friends that wouldn't dream of taking MA.. they rely on their husbands to protect them.. sheesh.. (shaking my head):shrug:
     
  16. Shoto Tiger

    Shoto Tiger Guest

    Hey ladies...

    Lets not give them the wrong impression!

    We can still turn on the old charm when we want right? To be honest to be a tomboy most of the time and then turn on the charm can be considered the most disarming thing of all!

    They start to treat as just one of the blokes and we turn it on and make them quake in their shoes! ;)
     
  17. Nightingale

    Nightingale Senior Master

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    I really enjoy getting dressed up and going out somewhere and looking pretty... but I must admit that I did check to make sure I could do a sidekick in my prom dress. lol.

    for some reason, though, I get approached by guys (read: hit on) more often when I'm outside in the parking lot of my apartment building changing the oil in my car rather than when I'm looking nice and wearing make-up. dunno what it is about the wearing coveralls and smeared with grease and motor oil look. I really don't get it.

    <shrug>
     
  18. Shoto Tiger

    Shoto Tiger Guest

    Hahahahahaha...I think we both get that! ;)

    Figures dunnit...they call us helpless and all they want is a hand with the car.

    ;)

    Anyway...should let this get back to subject really - sorry folks :)
     
  19. tunetigress

    tunetigress Guest

    As a woman who got into Martial Arts quite late in life, I have practically been kicking myself for not getting into it when I was younger, and have given quite a bit of thought to why such training had seemed so inaccessible for so long. One reason that stands out in my mind is the intensity of public reactions towards women who engage in activities considered 'unfeminine' or 'violent' in our culture. For the most part, people have reacted with shock and disbelief upon discovering that I trained in Karate and enjoyed all things to do with MA. I can't tell you how many people have told me, "OMG you don't seem like a violent person to me!!!" Or, "Gee, what does you husband think about you doing THAT????" Or, "Why on earth would you want to hit people??" I'd been taught that girls are demure, hang their heads, and avert their eyes when spoken to. I'd been taught that girls dont make fists, or kick or punch. That kind of behaviour just wasn't considered appropriate for a well-brought -up young lady. I didn't want my daughter growing up without pride in her own physical power. I wanted her to have the opportunity to be something more than some man's doormat. That was why I signed her up in the first place. The fact that she wanted me to train with her was my original inspiration to give it a try. The same people who are shocked that I trained, are all for the idea that my daughter "learn to defend herself against all those sexual predators out to get young girls these days." Then they turn around and say "bit of a tom-boy, isn't she?" Jeesh!!!

    Sometimes I really don't know what to think about the opinions of other people anymore. 'Popular Opinion' seems to influence people's personal opinions far more than their own experiences or common sense. I am constantly expected to justify why I am not raising my kids as 'everyone else' is. Or not behaving as 'other mothers do." Well, if my kids turn out just like everyone else's, I suppose I will feel as if I have failed as a parent. My own parents felt they had failed with me, because I had *not* turned out just like everyone else's daughter. The pendulum swings...

    So, recently my daughter, now 10, a Blue Belt soon to be Green, has discovered she is far more accepted by her peers, as well as some adults, if she speaks, acts and dresses more 'girly.' No other girls she knows are into Martial Arts. Since I was disabled and have been unable to train, she seems to be feeling like the 'odd girl out.' I want her to feel that even though the other girls in our area don't train, that it's OK if she still does. But with puberty suddenly rearing it's ugly head, and her feelings running amok, she is suddenly feeling the pressure of 'Popular Opinion' more intensely than before, and now seems to be wondering why she seems so different from the other girls. I've moved her to a new school for 5th grade, and she wants desperately to fit in with the other girls. If anyone has any suggestions that will help me to encourage her to stick with Kenpo even though 'nobody else' does it, yet still fit in with the 'girly girls' I would appreciate you sharing your ideas with me. With only two weeks until school is back in session here, the pressure is mounting to choose the 'right' school clothes and be a sexy little airhead, just like everyone else. I'd especially appreciate the advice of any young women who trained in childhood and continued to train through puberty. :confused:
     
  20. Aikikitty

    Aikikitty Master Black Belt

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    Well, I haven't trained from childhood or even through puberty since I've only been doing Aikido for 2 years and I'm 20 but as for the school thing.........have you considered homeschooling? I know homeschooling isn't for everyone but I've been homeschooled from 4th grade on up and I got a lot out of it. I never really had all the peer pressure either even though my family got together regularly with homeschool groups.

    Robyn :asian:
     

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