During our seminars and workshops, we often ask women if they have any questions or anything they are curious about. And I started to realize that, no matter the topic of the seminar, I was hearing a phrase over and over, both as a statement and as a question:
If I have a weapon, what if he takes it and uses it against me?
There are a couple things that I hear when someone poses this thought:
- I am not strong enough to defend myself against a man
- I cannot have more knowledge about my safety than a man intent on attacking me
- I will be overpowered
I can understand that. No matter how long I’ve done Krav Maga, I still find that when I’m thinking through a scenario or when I find myself in a situation that makes me nervous, I realize that my mind automatically goes back to me being prey to some predator. But it is also a sad realization that we often look at men as predators and almost always feel ourselves as prey especially since neither is true. More than anything though, I would like to address the second part, both with and without a weapon.
You are strong enough
When I first started training with our lead instructor Peter, we would spar and my main goal was not to die. One morning while sparring, he had me in a bad position that I was trying to get out of and I turned around and WHAP...hammer fist right to the nose.
I froze as I watched blood hit the floor. When he tells the story now, he talks about how after I hit him, he didn’t want to move for a minute or two. Before we cleaned up the blood from his face, he made me take a picture. He said he was proud of me and he always wanted me to remember that moment, that I - at 5’5 and 160 pounds - had broken his nose and made him stop.
Whenever we have women who tell us that they could never win against someone Peter’s size, we pull out that picture and tell that story.
I have worked with enough womxn to know that they are incredibly strong, but no one has ever told them that. I’ve started to view my job not to teach people self-defense, but to help people realize that they are stronger than they’ve ever known or realized and give them ways to protect themselves with that knowledge.
Knowledge is power
You can never speak in certainties when it comes to a fight: it will never happen the way you expect. But what I can say is this: if you have trained with whatever weapon you are carrying, it will be significantly harder for someone who is untrained to take it from you and use it against you. If you are comfortable with the item you’re carrying and know how to use it, you have a much higher chance of holding onto that item.
It doesn’t always have to be a conventional weapon
Oftentimes, we think of womxn carrying things like mace, pepper spray, kubatons, kitty ears, or knives. And there are a variety of reasons that women feel like they can’t use them, but oftentimes it’s the fear of using that item to defend themselves in the first place. That’s understandable - we often have these items, but don’t train with them (see what I said above!) and so they can be intimidating. You do not have to carry a weapon like this.
Personally, I carry a tactical flashlight: it’s small, it is multi-purpose, and it’s something I use often enough that I’m not afraid of it.
What do you carry that you could use as a weapon in any situation? Metal water bottles, hair brushes, combs, foundation powder, hot coffee. Anything you can use to keep distance, temporarily blind, surprise, or stun someone can be a weapon. Hell, if you really wanted to, you could keep a vial of glitter in your purse as a weapon - think about having a bunch of glitter thrown right in your eyes.
Not gonna lie, I keep a large crystal heart that my mom gave me in a pocket of one of my coats because 1) it matches my coat and 2) it would make someone bleed if I threw it at their face.
You can keep fighting
As someone raised female, I’ve witnessed an incredible phenomenon, not only in others, but in myself: when I am tired, I give up. And it’s not because I suddenly agree with whatever is happening, but it feels so much easier to just let it go, even if it means that I will be unhappy or hurt. The fight always feels like it’s too much and maybe it’ll be over faster if I just give in. I fully understand this mindset - it has gotten me through some hard times, but it never makes me feel very good about myself.
Since I started Krav Maga I’ve realized that I can fight. And that I can win. So even if someone were to take something away from me, I know that I could keep fighting. While it doesn’t necessarily mean that I will win, the realization that I could continue to fight makes me feel stronger.
So if you’ve asked yourself the question, “what if he uses it against me?” I want you to stop and assess why you’re asking that question and know that you are stronger than you can imagine.
In the last week, I’ve had a number of people say to me, “I feel like the first thing I would do is run.” And every time someone tells me this, I can sense shame, the same shame that people have when they say that their natural reaction is to freeze. Co-owner and instructor Danae is here to tell you that running isn't bad, but it's not your only option.
Trauma-informed care is an incredibly important and rapidly growing industry in the United States, especially after the pandemic. With that in mind, what is trauma-informed self-defense?
Krav Maga near me? There is! If you're looking for a Krav Maga class near you, Valley Self-Defense is a proud member of the International Krav Maga Federation with schools located across the United States. To find a school near you, visit the IKMF USA website.