FIGHT like a man, THINK like a man, ACT like a woman..

Discussion in 'Women of the Martial Arts (Women Martial Artists)' started by Jenna, Aug 3, 2008.

  1. Jenna

    Jenna Senior Master

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    Can you tell me please what you think of this above??

    In context I was told this by a very clever lady who has been a friend in my art for ages though I do not see her much.. And she mentioned it because I had said that someone told me I needed to “butch up”. I could not help but wonder are women martial artists supposed to butch up as part of their training? In the dojo we are genderless, we are all simply participants in our art, regardless of gender, correct? Or is it? Are we genderless in the dojo or are women not inclined to affect a certain masculinity to match up? I dunno..

    Anyways, my friend who is quite a little bit older and wiser than I said this above to me that the female martial artist should fight like a guy, and which I think she said was to be physically confident, even if it has to be feigned it should be compelling enough to be believable and in so doing, it will become what it aspires to be, ie. true confidence. And to think like a guy which she said was to be aware of danger, to have an actively defensive mindset while being prepped to evade or counter. And to act like a woman and which she did not explain and but I think she was making allusion to the butching up thing and I am hoping the lack of need for it. I am not sure..

    A few things on my calendar have me worried that I should butch up with muscle and a tougher attitude? Self doubt I think... I do not seek to be the best fighter in the world. Only one who can protect herself just enough..

    I know my friend did not intend this to be chauvinist, feminist or sexist or anything so if I have communicated it that way then please excuse me. I just thought it was a very wise piece of advice and I am a sponge for wise advice and I wonder do you have any thoughts? Should women martial artists as part of their art, butch up physically and emotionally??

    Thank you and sorry if this is too wordy..
    Yr most obdt hmble srvt,
    Jenna
     
  2. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    Is a woman a man? Does a typical woman have the same upper body strength as a similar man? Is a woman's body anatomically the same? (No, I'm not reopening the issue of absorbing punishment or taking a beating; I'm speaking of those skeletal and muscular differences that allow a forensic examiner to identify a body's gender.)

    No.

    So why should a woman fight like a man? My training and teaching partner is a woman; techniques and approaches that work for me won't work for her -- and vice versa.

    I work with female officers that I trust at my back 100%; they simply use different tools and techniques and tactics to accomplish the same goal. Sometimes, they get away with things I could never do! I've seen hard thugs who were all set to tear my head off meekly go along with a female officer like a ***** cat...

    Does a woman have to learn to turn off or ignore some of our society's standard expectations for "lady-like behavior" in a violent situation? Yes. But that's not suggesting that they should change who they are in general.
     
  3. Kacey

    Kacey Sr. Grandmaster

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    I disagree with the opening statement. Have you ever seen a woman defend her children? It's along the same lines as watching any other female defending her young - it's vicious, and nasty, and no holds barred. Every girl fight I've seen at the middle school where I work was invariably nastier and had more dirty shots than the fights between the boys. Why limit yourself to fighting like a man? And learning to defend yourself certainly won't turn you butch.
     
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  4. CuongNhuka

    CuongNhuka Senior Master

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    My Sensei alway's says he fight like a woman. Keep in mind, he is 6 foot, maybe 6' 1''. He has very large muscles, and was in Air Assault (which is basicly Army Special Forces). At first look in the right clothes, he could easily pull off the look of a knee breaker for the mob. And he says he fights like a woman. Just something to think about.
     
  5. mook jong man

    mook jong man Senior Master

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    I say just fight like a human .
     
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  6. teekin

    teekin 3rd Black Belt

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    Butch up? Butch Up my ***! Being tough minded, resiliant, durable has FA to do with being butch. I am the very opposite of butch and those who mistook my lack of masculinity for weakness did so at their own peril. They seldom made the same mistake twice.
    I LOVE being a woman and fully intend to use all the gifts god in her infinite wisdom gave to me. That includes those the ability to fight and think like a woman.

    Perhaps some exploration into the way women and men respond to stress is in order. Non conditioned responses, visceral responses, accidents, ER Nurses, Battlefield Triage, stuff like this. These women are strong, tough, ect ect ect
    .........
    Lori M
     
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  7. Jenna

    Jenna Senior Master

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    Hey jks9199 :) thank you for this. I agree there should be no compulsion on women to fight like men and but do you think a woman needs to be *at least as tough* physically / mentally, meaning confident, as say an average guy on the street?? Or is that unnecessary provided she knows how to execute her trained techniques? Do the women you work with have a mental toughness? And would you say they were butched up in that way??

    Hey Kacey :) Thank you so much. I think this is a very valid point.. when women fight in an untrained way, they employ a completely different set of methodologies, yes, dirty shots, nails, hair-dragging and but we have this trained out of us in our arts and have our instinctive skills supplanted and superceded by our martial techniques. I just wonder are these techniques (being borne from male-conceived TMAs etc) not instilling more masculine values in us? Please do not misunderstand, it is all good to me so long as I can use it for my own good. Though I think the idea of having to butch up and be tougher kind of has me worried that I am not hard enough for what might come.. I do not think that makes sense .. Fighting like a man in a martial way is one thing that I can accept but imagine you had it suggested to you that you need to butch up or toughen up or whatever. Then how would you yourself objectively decide if that was a point with any merit? How do you know if you’re tough enough for what might be around the next corner?? Thank you very kindly for your thoughts :) Jenna

    Hey CuongNhuka :) I wonder next time you speak with your sensei will you ask what is meant by that? I wonder maybe is he not simply whacking you with his irony?? If not, I would be interested in how that translates into the mechanics of his fighting. Thank you Jenna

    Hey mook jong man :) Can you tell me please what kind of characteristics in a female fighter would you be most wary of? Thank you, Jenna

    Hey Lori :) In your experience do you not think men have a greater fighting aptitude? I am not wanting to get into a feminist minefield just I do not like to be tried for skill in my own defence and found wanting if you follow.. If I have to fight like a guy in order to beat a guy, then that is acceptable.. the idea of needing to toughen up implies a lacking which means there is potential for being caught short as it were.. Does that make sense?? Thank you, Jenna
     
  8. CuongNhuka

    CuongNhuka Senior Master

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    He uses strategy and good technique, not muscle.
     
  9. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    You're really asking the wrong question, because the traits of confidence, the drive to survive, and the mental toughness you're talking about aren't gender related traits. They're positive traits for anyone. In the fairly recent past, our culture developed this ideal that women don't fight. What's silly about that is that, throughout history, while the men were out hunting, or making war, the women defended their homes. So of course women can fight...

    That same cultural bias has led to the "I'm a potential victim and there's nothing I can do about it" mindset seen in some women (and even some men, especially of late). Anyone, male or female, old or young, who looks like a victim will be perceived as a victim by the predators out there. Anyone unwilling to fight for themselves will be crushed by those same predators.
     
  10. Jenna

    Jenna Senior Master

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    Hey jks9199, thank you for your thoughts :) Asking the wrong question, that is my problem I think :) You have said that predators prey on those who "look like a victim".. I wonder could you elaborate on what is the look of a victim?? And in your experience is there a way to avoid that look? I get hurt and I act hurt. I busted my wrist, though it was not actually fractured, just ligament stuff and I acted hurt, yeah ok, I was prolly a bit teary too. I was told I needed to butch up.. In terms of confidence I think I am not so bad. I just do not want to be caught short in my own defence and if I am told I am maybe not tough enough and that exposes a weakness in my shields then I need to look at that as any other weak technique area.. Thank you again, your opinion is valued :) J
     
  11. turtle

    turtle Orange Belt

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    This is a great point, especially when you think about a mother's instinct to defend her child or children.

    I started training 25 years ago, when martial arts classes tended to be mostly men, so I had a lot of opportunities to think about the gender/toughness question and I guess in the end I've concluded that it's more about competence than toughness. If you train hard, you acquire a solid set of physical and mental skills you can rely on and that allows you hang in there with just about anyone. Everyone's skill set will be different depending on temperament and body type and a whole bunch of other things, but I think gender is a minor factor, unless you make it major.
     
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  12. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    That's really worthy of a thread in and of itself. I may start it in a bit. There have also been other threads that touch on it.

    But, none of that helps you at the moment...

    Think of many criminals as being like a wolf pack. (It's not original, but it's a good analogy, especially for this.) A wolf pack on the hunt doesn't attack the biggest, strongest elk in the herd. They watch the herd, and note the vulnerable ones -- they're moving slower, they're older or ill, or young and weaker, or lame... They'll harass the herd, cutting the weaker ones out, until they find one that's most vulnerable at the moment, and that's the one they'll take down. In the same way, most criminals (serial sexual offenders and a few others are exceptions -- though some parts of this still apply; they just use different criteria for initial selection) are going to look for someone who's distracted, or hurt, or has their hands full. They're going to look for the person who doesn't look ready or alert or able to defend themselves, and who looks like they'll give up quickly. So, leave the Ipod at home during your outdoor run. Walk with your head up, eyes open, and be aware of your surroundings. Don't be afraid to make eye contact, and decide that YOU are in charge and in control. In short... don't look like a meal for a criminal.
     
  13. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    I've been in the arts for a while now, and I've seen various types of people. Some obviously take the training more serious than others, but IMHO, I'm of the belief that if you're taking the time to train, and if a reason for the training is self defense, then you better put some effort into what you're doing.

    Now, while a woman and man are different, I take the above comment as follows:

    Fight like a man: Watch a boxing or MMA match with men, and you see some pretty good aggression. Watch 2 men spar in class, and you'll probably see the same thing. I take that comment as if you are a woman, you should be aggressive and intense. Given the usual size and strength difference, by being aggressive, and 'fighting like a man' the woman will put more into what she's doing.

    Think like a man: I take this as using a fight strategy or mentality than a man would use; having an aggressive mindset.

    Act like a woman: Carrying yourself as if you are an average person, not someone trained in the arts. Use body language that doesnt draw attention to yourself.

    As far as the 'butch up' comment goes...I don't think that a woman should have to do a complete transformation and start power lifting, dressing and acting like a man would. I know women who act, dress and look like women, yet they're able to turn that switch, and fight and think like a man when they have to. :)

    Mike
     
  14. mook jong man

    mook jong man Senior Master

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    I think their ability to get very angry , very quick and their capacity for revenge, so even if you defeat them you still have to sleep sometime if you get my drift , hold on i think i just described my missus. :uhohh:
     
  15. Kacey

    Kacey Sr. Grandmaster

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    The values I have learned through TKD have been related to discipline, perseverance, integrity, self-control - they are, IMHO, genderless. I've never seen or experienced anything in TKD that would suggest I should be anything other than myself.

    I fight like myself. I know men who fight with a similar style; I know women who fight with a similar style. Likewise, I know people of both genders of fight with totally different styles, and everything in between. I've never had anyone suggest I needed to "butch up"; the only time I've even been told to toughen up was when I used to get blisters on the bottoms of my feet (now I have callouses instead) - but pretty much every new student has that problem, and it's often the men who have more problems; I know more women than men who prefer to be barefoot, although that's certainly not absolute, nor based on research - it's just been my experience. I don't recall, in 21 years, ever being told anything that wasn't said to someone else as well - and since women are generally outnumbered in MA classes (but not always - and what a nice thing it is to see more women), comments have usually been directed at men.

    As I said - I've never been told to do anything that the male members of class weren't told also - and the female members as well - so I don't see a difference there to look for merit in.

    All I can do is what anyone does - train hard, be aware, and be ready. I won't know if I'm tough enough until I need to be - how does anyone know?

    I know that there are stereotypes out there about women in martial arts (and quite a few other stereotypically "male" activities) - but while some people continue to cling to them, they just aren't so. I know women in MA who are butch, women who are feminine, women who are gay, women who are straight, women who dress up all the time, women who live in jeans and t-shirts - all kinds of women. There is no stereotypical woman who does martial arts, except in the minds of some people; some of those people do MA, and some don't - but that's the way the world is, isn't it? All I can do is what's right for me - and TKD is it.
     
  16. Live True

    Live True Brown Belt

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    Interesting thread, thanks Jenna!

    For the most part, I think men and women should both train to thier strengths and not try to be something they are not. Meaning....a small man or woman should focus on techniques meant to destabilize large opponents and use thier force/strength against them. Large men or women should still focus on techniques, but they should use those techniques that take advantage of thier stronger areas and be aware of thier weaker ones...so really...no gender difference, just an awareness of what works and what you are seeking to accomplish....

    That said, of course there are some specific differences between men and women. Some, are societal and some are simply genetic (and vary by person just to make it more fun!:uhyeah:) In general, a woman's hips are wider and the angle where her muscles attach is different. This can lead to more knee injuries and a slight difference in balance and strength. Again...awareness of difference.

    Now, one thing I will agree with that fits with the "fight/think like a man"...is something I've noticed at the gym where I train, some women's fitness magazines, and in some of my coworkers...and that is weight training. Here's an example of what I mean: I started training with a work out buddy a few months ago, and she was always going to the lightest weights she could find. So we'd be doing bicep curls and she'd pick up 3lb weights! With some encouragement, I've got her working her way up to 10-12lbs, and she's so pleased with the progress she's made in her arms and legs! We had a discussion about finding a weight that she could do with good form for aprx 10 reps and start to feel a twinge of fatigue by the end of the set. This meant that was likely a good weight for her. If she couldn't do a full set, it was too heavy...a full set and not feel it at all, then too light. We also talked about moving slow and not letting momentum lift the weight for her, and on breathing out with the exertion and in with the set phase. She was astounded at how much weight she could lift in some cases!

    She simply assumed she wasn't strong, so she never tried. Many women at the gym avoid weights, and stick to the treadmills, ellipticals, and aerobics classes.....which is still good, but they assume they are not strong or that they'll "bulk up" or look too butch if they weight train. I honestly think that a women with well toned muscles is more attractive, and we simply don't (most of us) generate enough testosterone to have that bulging muscle look.

    So, I don't think women need to butch up, but I do think we need to realize we are not frail and set the bar for ourselves too low.
     
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  17. Franc0

    Franc0 Purple Belt

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    Good thread Jenna, so here's my 2 cents worth. Back in my youth we had a group of friends that would meet at the park, put on the gloves and foot pads and go at it. There were these three brothers known as the Stones (Mike, Matt & Markus). These were three of the toughest street fighters I had known at that time, with zero MA training. They would come and spar with us using nothing but street boxing and wrestling skills, and they kicked major butt. One day they brought their little sister Milly with them saying she wanted to put on the gear with us. I said sure why not, but another buddy who just began kick boxing training made the mistake of saying he'd spar her with one hand tied behind his back. They sparred and she beat the living crap outta him. After getting a bloody nose and a fat lip, he untied his hand, squared up with her again & she knocked him out with a beautiful right cross that I'll never forget! Afterwards I asked her where she learned to fight like that and she told me growing up with 3 tough older brothers taught her everyhting she needed. Watching her spar I noticed several things. 1st, when she sparred she didn't spar, she fought hard. 2nd, she moved almost exactly like her brothers. 3rd, since the family resemblance was nearly identical and she didn't have much in the breast dept., she could've shaved her hair off and could pass as their 4th brother easily. My point? Her environment growing up taught her to fight like a man, and she kicked ***! Oh yeah, one more thing, she was a major hottie too!

    Franco
     
  18. tshadowchaser

    tshadowchaser Sr. Grandmaster

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    Jenna,

    First and foremost your art dose not require you to be strong or even overly aggressive. Your art flows, even if there are some very painful applications.
    If in an actual fight for survival I do not think many people ( man or woman) fight weakly if they wish to live. Women are more than capable of being fierce and nasty and strong once the adrenalin kicks in.
    Being “buff” has nothing to do with many arts. Being able to perform under pressure and being proficient in the art is much more important.
    Being aware is sometimes thought of as a mans area but I disagree because so many women today are aware of the dangers everywhere they go. Being observant has become something that is increasingly being stressed to all.
    That being said you have asked some good questions once again
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2008
  19. Jenna

    Jenna Senior Master

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    Hey Kacey :) thank you again for your thoughts and which all make perfect sense.. I only want to reply to one thing and I am not trying to make any points, just by way of explanation..
    I was hit with a tazer and though I know now that no amount of training could have prevented it (I have been training for nearly 15 years) still at the time I disavowed my art completely as having no merit. I have been back to it and but small comments or criticisms are like fingers poking in wounds and do bring a focus on potential holes in my armour for when that time comes again. And it will. So yes, you are right, how does anyone know? Well if we have our mettle tested and are found lacking, that might corroborate what someone says when they say to us butch up a bit (even though we might not have otherwise thought that a necessity). Thank you again. I appreciate your thoughts as ever :)
    Yr most obdt hmble srvt,
    Jenna
     
  20. girlbug2

    girlbug2 Master of Arts

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    I haven't consciuously changed the way I act since starting martial arts, but maybe it reflects in body language that I have more confidence. I have been told that I carry myself well now. Whether that's "like a woman" or "like a man", depends on the woman or the man. But,in my experience, more men tend to walk confidently and project situational awareness more often than women.

    Impossible to tell what is meant by those opening statements. When I see them however I think Fight like a man means aggressively (not something women have usually been raised to ), Think like a man means not afraid to use all one's resources in fighting (again something women are not traditionally taught to do) and Act like a woman means, wisely avoid fights if at all possible (something women are traditionally better at).

    Like T. Roosevelt said, "Walk Softly and carry a Big Stick".
     

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