I’ve been reading many articles recently about women’s self-defense and what women need to protect themselves recently. Collapsible batons, pepper sprays, tasers, and even guns are all regularly espoused as the most valuable thing a smart woman needs to carry at all times to ensure her protection.
But there’s a problem.
Presumably, the authors who write these studies are based in countries and/or states where those weapons are legal and legit. My take on this is slightly modified because I live in the UK, where any weapons (or items carried to use them as weapons) are entirely illegal. The only weapons a student here can be responsibly encouraged to use are improvised weapons. I.e., those found during an encounter, or an innocuous item like a handbag that can become a weapon there and then.
So, what do women need to become efficient at self-protection?
I recently wrote that an essential attribute for any fighter, martial artist, or self-defense student to develop is a robust and combative mindset. This is especially important for women for a couple of reasons.
Many women seem to defeat themselves before they begin merely because they feel they couldn’t possibly defend themselves against a man. It’s understandable because women, by their very nature, are not as comfortable with violence as men, who begin with competitive rough-and-tumble play at an early age and are encouraged to take up challenging physical sports and interests more often than females are. They are also, on the ordinary, physically smaller and weaker than a man. But despite being understandable, this fear is unfounded.
Imagine a 200lb man holding a cat. Now, someone throws ice-cold water over them both, and the man tries to hold onto the animal. What happens? The man fails to hold onto the cat and gets injured in the process because the frenzied feline goes nuts with its teeth and claws in its determination to escape. The cat weighs probably 8-10lbs.
What’s stopping women from doing the same? You’re a lot bigger than the cat. You have teeth, and you have nails. You have a variety of weapons. Learn to use these instead of relying upon carried weapons, which you may not always have with you (and may not always have time to deploy anyway).
But what if you still don’t think you can fight back?
If you’re a woman reading this, think of your children. If you don’t have them, think of your friend’s children, or your pets, or anything else you love. Now imagine them being attacked by a man wearing a mask. What are you doing to do?
There is a tale of a woman who was attacked in her home and, due to fear of fighting back, becomes a rape statistic. Moments later, the attacker turned his back on her and headed towards an adjacent room, where the woman’s young daughter was screaming. Seeing what was about to happen, the woman leaped into action, grabbing a pair of scissors from the sideboard and introducing them to the intruder’s neck. He died at the scene.
Wouldn’t you have done the same?
For many women, protecting themselves seems alien and impossible, yet the idea of protecting their child is primal and instinctive. It happens without being given a second thought. Why can’t you apply this to your safety, as well as that of loved ones?
My point here is that although carrying some weapon or personal safety device might be a sensible option, don’t let it blind you and become your only sense of security. It is not enough. To maximize your safety, you have to get your mindset right. You have to train yourself physically and learn to use your natural weapons until you reach the level where you know you can defend yourself, whether you have the luxury of a carried weapon or not. You have to permit yourself to fight back for your safety in the same way you would protect someone else’s.
Neither of these things is a quick or easy process, but they are essential. Don’t look for quick fixes. If you are genuinely concerned about your wellbeing, put in the hours.
It would be best if you only relied upon yourself.