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Women’s Self-Defense Warning

I’ve noticed an increase in Women’s Self Defense classes being offered recently. There is a need for them, however I wish to caution those of you offering them. There is a distinct difference between Women’s Self Defense, teaching structural and strategic ideas to a smaller person being attacked by a stranger, and dealing with intimate partner violence.

The context of an attack and the appropriate response in a stranger attack versus that of a known assailant in what could be an ongoing relationship are not only different but have different emotional and mental aspects that need to be addressed. If not presented properly there is an increased chance of triggering a negative state for the women attending. If you have not researched this or do not have training in psychology or crisis intervention you could harm those you mean to help. To be blunt most people are not qualified to teach responses to intimate partner violence.

Theresa Murphy and I have been working with women’s support groups, psychiatrists, lawyers, police and victims of domestic violence and sexual assault since 1995 gaining knowledge and safely testing ideas to help these women. We have been very cautious and only now after more than 20 years of work are we ready to propose a solution because intimate partner violence can’t be solved in a weekend woman’s self defense class and should not be attempted unless you are prepared.

I understand and respect your desires to help women but I recommend you be cautious with this subject matter. You of course may do whatever you want. I have no say in what you do at your dojos but trying to deal with more than teaching structural and strategic ideas to a smaller person being attacked by a stranger may not be in the best interests of the you or the women being taught.

One Response to Women’s Self-Defense Warning

  1. James September 13, 2018 at 9:39 pm #

    This is absolutely something worth intense meditation and consideration! Though I always try to put myself in others shoes, I am a man, therefore my thoughts are always from a male perspective… Even in therapy, women require much more than I can offer them, so another woman at least is required for their treatment. I never actually thought about this from a training standpoint! Thank you so much for the post!

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