- Posted February 19, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Women need REAL self defense not "Rape Whistles"
Many young women often approach me with questions about how to find a legitimate and trustworthy self-defense program. With so many different schools and teachers promoting their styles and brands, I can understand the dilemma most students face when selecting a program devoid of “snake oil” salesman who teach ineffective and/or dangerous techniques. As an example of just how crazy this industry has become: I was reading an article in a local newspaper here in Colorado a few years back; the feature was on a Martial Arts Instructor who was offering free Self Defense Classes for women. In the article he professed to teaching “Psychological Techniques “in which the instructor claimed he could teach a woman to throw up on herself or her attacker to thwart an attack. I was stunned at this action to say the least. Now with the comments from Colorado State Rep. Joe Salazar and the Rape Prevention "Checklist" by University of Colorado, Colorado Springs this has brought the issue to the forefront again.
As an instructor myself, I’ll start out by saying that I find this technique repulsive and degrading. My first question to this instructor: “would you teach this to a male student?” I’m guessing he would not. Moreover, any vetted instructor would know that this type of technique will not stop a motivated attacker. In fact, it may actually place the victim in greater danger, while leading the assailant to be more brutal in their attack. Vomiting is a very strong process during which physical control of the rest of the body is virtually impossible. When we vomit, there is usually little else we can do, like running (Have you ever tried to run while vomiting? I’ll bet you didn’t make it very far!) Any time an instructor refuses to teach a woman – or any person for that matter – the same types of techniques that are taught to healthy, able-bodied individuals, I believe you are just telling her that she is not good enough or strong enough to truly fight off an attacker. A woman who seeks self-defense instruction should always consider this point, avoiding the puke-jitsu experts in favor of higher quality instructors capable of teaching the many tactics that anyone can learn for effective self-defense. So what should you look for when considering a good course?
Look for instructors that encourage and empower their students. People must be empowered for Self Defense to work. They must be taught to believe in themselves and their ability to overcome adverse situations. Women throughout history have been soldiers and warriors who fought alongside men. With proper training a woman can be just as effective in any type of combat situation. If you sense your instructor might doubt a woman’s ability to defend herself, find someone else will show you the reality of just how capable you are.
Watch how other women train and prepare. More and more women are entering careers in Law Enforcement and the field of emergency response (Fire, rescue, etc). For a young professional woman – whether seeking a career in these fields or not – you must know and understand that while you may have to work harder to build up physical strength in some areas, your mind is actually your best weapon. I teach both men and women to live by the motto “One mind any weapon.” Take this to heart as a factual statement, and you will teach yourself the value of improvising and adapting your way to surviving through just about anything.
Never compromise your inner toughness and self-worth. In my twenty years of law enforcement I have worked with some very tough women, it would be unimaginable for me to ask them or tell them that they should degrade themselves in a battle for their lives. In the last ten years more American women have seen combat situations due to the nature of the deployments and conflicts we are involved in. The United Stated Air Force Security Forces does, in fact, engage women in combat zones to protect convoys and even undergo training as Air Force Snipers. So, consider these facts when selecting your next course and never settle for less than you deserve.
In summary, when seeking instruction in self-defense, be selective when choosing a teacher. You would not select a surgeon or an attorney without asking some probing questions about their qualifications and methods. Why compromise on a decision that may be just as important in saving your life someday? After all, it’s called Self Defense not Self Degradation.
About the Author
John Fabbricatore is a veteran of the United States Air Force, having served as a Security Forces member from 1991 to 1995. Since 1995, John has served as an active law enforcement officer. John was an instructor at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center from 2003 to 2005, where he focused on teaching Defensive Tactics, Physical Fitness, and Fugitive Operations. John is currently a law enforcement supervisor involved in Fugitive Operations. As an active martial artist for over twenty years, John has competed in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), boxing, submission grappling, and kickboxing and is currently sought after as a self defense consultant and Survival prepper. You can learn about more of John's work through his website: www.reactiontoviolence.com (RTV) or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/reactiontoviolence