I come across this video below from a Facebook friend.  It is from the woman’s self protection perspective.  One of the main things that I liked about it is that it makes the point that self defence is a primal instinct, which we all have the capacity for.

When severely threatened we can all resort to the most primitive and basic animal instincts, which is savage, brutal and barbaric.  Civilisation has taught us to control such instincts.  In many cases it even teaches us to bury them completely.  This is especially true of women, where they are encouraged to be feminine (which is considered exactly the opposite of getting down and dirty and in a fight).

Things have improved over the years.  As a kid I remember that the role of a woman in an action film was to get into trouble, scream lots and be rescued by the male hero.  Nowadays women are portrayed as far more capable and independent . . . . . . . and rightly so.

Woman defending herself from male attacker
When that primal instinct is let go

Women in martial arts used to be a tiny minority.  They still are in the minority, but they make up a bigger percentage today then when I first started back in the late 70’s.   Although perceptions have changed and many prejudices have been overcome (still more to go), many women still have this cultural conditioning which bury their primal instincts.

Some years ago, I helped a friend, Wayne Badbury (from Kamon Wing Chun) doing a self protection course for women.  I was one of the stooges to be hit.  I had a kind of crash helmet, cricket shin pads and body armour.  It was like an early primitive version of the FAST Defence.  I had to provoke the women into an emotional response and then be hit.  I have to say that I was quite amazed at how hard some of these women hit when actually emotionally aroused (with fear).  I would not have liked to be hit like that without the protection and most men would not have been able to withstand it for long.

I hope I don’t offend anybody here, but these women in the emotional state hit harder and were more scary than a lot of female martial artists that I’ve trained with.  Most times that I’ve sparred with women, I’ve felt obliged to tone it down a bit (masculine cultural programming).  I will say that this is not always the case.  I remember once trying out a new club and being partnered to fight a female 3rd Dan.  I thought “OK, take it easy”, but the second we started she jumped in and hit me reverse punch.  “OK”, I thought, “I’ll go up a gear”.

Now some people may think that I’m sexist, but that same lady 3rd Dan later admitted that she too had to tone it down with most other women.  Now don’t get me wrong, I not suggesting that the guys should be laying into the women and knocking them about, far from it.  What I am suggesting is that if women can overlook some of their social conditioning, they’ll find they are much tougher then they think they are and are much more capable of physically fighting of an attacker then they think they are.

One of the most primal functions of a woman’s body is child birth.  Most men could not take that level of pain, yet many women do it over and over again.  Women have far more depths and capacity then most men give them credit for.  For that matter, they have far more depth and capacity then most women give themselves credit for.  Having the will to fight back (if necessary) does not detract from feminism (as some social conditioning may have women believe).  In fact many men actually have more respect for and are more attracted to a strong willed & spirited woman.

Ironically, many women would without hesitation fight to the death to protect their child, but not for themselves.  Don’t let social conditioning set you up to be a victim.


4 Comments In This Topic

  1. While I think your points on social conditioning are interesting and valid, I do have one criticism. People are often narrow sighted about “women’s strength” and often oversimplify “as women give birth and that is hard so they aren’t as weak as we assume”.

    I am not dissing mothers or claiming that childbirth isn’t hard, but it also isn’t “strength” and it doesn’t require any skill. Men pass stones – it’s about the same thing as giving birth from a medical standpoint. Something in the body has to come out, it’s going to come out and it’s going to hurt like hell – however the person themselves has not done anything miraculous to get it out – it is a natural process. We don’t respect men and say they are strong because they pass stones – we respect men who work hard, use their intellects, and bring excellence to the table in their daily interactions.

    And I respect women who work hard, use their intellects, and bring excellence to the table in their daily interactions. A also respect physical fitness and physical skill in both sexes – something that martial arts is great at fostering. The point is to say that “women = people who give birth to children” doesn’t wash after many decades of birth control. I know many married women who choose not to have children (at all.ever)and they are strong in the essential sense – fit and quick. Just something to consider.

    1. Hi SSS
      Thank you for your feedback. I take your point that childbirth is not a strength, but a natural function (though I didn’t actually say it was a “strength”). Never having passed stones or a baby, I can’t really comment on the medical comparison of pain levels 🙂

      The point I was trying to make is that woman do have more pain tollerance then men. I realise that many women (like you say) choose not to have baby’s, but very often that is for career, financial or other reasons; rather than fear of pain. Men who have to suffer pain passing stones, simply have no choice. It is well recognised that men do tend to make more fuss when they’re ill or in discomfort, hence the expression “man flu” (meaning we only have a cold but make a fuss as if it was full blown flu).

      It just that in the self defence/martial arts arena, many women tend to put themselves down more than they should do. I was trying to encourage those that do put themselves down to see themselves as more equal as they rightly are!

  2. lately i have been having uncontrolable involuntary body movements: *neck- head to shoulder and sometimes head back, elbow jutting outwards and also back, in the evening it is worse at home same as above but additionally back kicks and on 2 occasions forward punches with left hand(i am left handed) but the elbow motions have been on either side also the neck motions on either side. some times outward elbow immediately followed by an backward elbow. upon googling i came across involuntary defense response and upon further googling i came across primal defense instincts. i googled cause i didnt know whether to go to a medical doctor or a psychologist. also i had my diagnosis updated and my current diagnosis is depression and anxiety but i was told to come back to rule out borderline personality disorder cause i disagreed with the psychiatrist about being impulsive, but now i know that the fight/flight response itself is an impulse and when applying awareness i found that i have several triggers from my past from tramas and sexual, psychological, and physical abuse. currently i am having some difficulties at home with arguements and have had a rocky marriage. my husband had antisocial behaviors as a child and was adopted and then sent away to a institution for choking out his sister at age 12. when turned 18 he was discharged and there was no mental hygiene due to no family and he lived on the streets until marriage after remarriage. i am his 3rd wife. i think our arguements are triggering the responses. havent figured out though how to stop them. but i havent accidently hit anyone thankfully. i have a 4 year old and i ask her and her father to leave the room when my elbows start to jut out uncontrolably.

    1. Hi Heather.
      Thanks for sharing your experiences with us all. I’d like to offer some advice or suggestions, but his is something that I’m not qualified to comment on! I hope you find a good solution soon. Take care