"When girls and women are taught self defence (and I mean literally taught. Most women have had at least one class in school on it) we are taught that hitting is the absolute LAST resort. Realistically? If a man has actually punched us? 90%+ of women are fucked already. There is no defence against someone stronger than you hitting you." So can a woman who gets punched can actually defend herself or not?
Women aren’t made of porcelain.
We’re not some separate species, or utterly different physically from men. The concept of “woman” is a societal one. It changes based on socialization, and changes based on the society’s belief on what a woman is. It’s a nebulous concept, with no solid value when hitching one’s identity to it and the same is true for men. Societal constructs like masculinity and femininity are linked heavily to societal expectations and how we’re raised. When someone says, “a woman can’t” when a “man can” most of the time they’re referring to societal expectations taken as fact. These beliefs often have nothing to do with reality, and you only have to look at the vast differences in the United States when it comes to stereotyping women of different ethnicity, various cultures, or income levels just to see how shallow those ideas are.
There are female soldiers, female police officers, female martial artists of every stripe, and the warriors are countless going back generations. You can, in fact, find them if you look. This is before we get to athletes and all the other non-combat positions women occupy today that society said, “impossible!” just a few decades ago.
This is why understanding the effects of socialization is so important. When it comes to learning, what you believe will decide what you are.
Here’s the truth: no one takes a punch well when they’re mentally unprepared for it.
Here’s the other: most people (men included) aren’t trained to take hits.
Notice that you’re instructor told you, “Don’t piss off men. You’re helpless if they decide to physically assault you.”
They did not teach you what it looks like when a punch is incoming, or what the change over looks like. Good self-defense teaches you to be aware of your surroundings and learn to determine when danger is potentially incoming. You can’t respond when you don’t know its coming, and you can’t prepare for it, physically or mentally, when taken by surprise. The first moments of a real fight are crucial. Those seconds it takes to recognize danger and react to it when you’re already in the middle of being hit is too late. You’ve lost the initiative, you’re playing catch up, and that’s a terrible position to be in when you’re trained. It’s pretty much almost always unrecoverable if you’re not.
It has nothing to do with being a man, and its disingenuous from a self-defense perspective to focus entirely on them. While far more likely, men are not the only ones who can or will hit you. Women aren’t any safer, and can be just as predatory.
The problem with these self-defense classes is if you’re really serious about learning to defend yourself then you need to train for it. Good professionals worth their salt will always tell you that you need to be training in some martial art, and practicing the techniques you learned in your self-defense course constantly so that they become embedded in your muscle memory.
When I was forced into one these high school self-defense courses, my seventeen year old martial artist self thought they were stupid and overall pretty pointless, and they didn’t come at us with any of the above bullshit about getting punched. Girls who’ve done an hour of self-defense five years ago aren’t going to be able to perform jiujutsu throws, they’ll be lucky if they remember the bear hug escapes or how to roll the wrist against the thumb and tug if someone tries to take you were you don’t want to go (and then not know what to do once they’ve gotten free because they never practice running). Forget punching, they won’t remember how to do that.
If you aren’t practicing to the point where it becomes second nature, with the added benefit of learning self-defense techniques that are exceedingly easy to memorize (believe it or not, not all self-defense programs will teach these), and doesn’t come with the caveat that if you’re serious you need more education then they’re pretty worthless.
All your class seems to have taught you is how to be a willing victim, and that’s the worst kind of self defense.
“If someone attacks you, you can do nothing so just give up.”
That’s tantamount to admitting that they didn’t really teach you anything, and don’t want you to think they did. You’re not even in exactly the same place you were before you took that class. Mentally, you’re worse off.
If you don’t believe you can, then you won’t and it’s simple as that.
It should come as no surprise to anyone that when it comes to self-defense, you get what you pay for.
Taught is not not taught, the vast majority of high schools don’t have classes. They have one hour a year (maybe) devoted to it (usually P.E.), and sometimes its not even required. If you’re lucky, it’s a seminar of a few days. If you’re really lucky, they’ll bring in one of the female (or male) police officers from a local precinct who specializes in the police’s self-defense training they give the public. However, you are not guaranteed to have a professional, or even just a local officer. Often, it’s just the PE teacher who took a three month course. What girls get in high school depends heavily on what waivers the school is willing to sign and how much liability they’re willing to take on. It also depends on who is doing the hiring, who they are hiring, and whether they actually care.
Believe it or not, there are plenty of people out there who think women don’t need to learn self-defense and don’t want to waste the school’s already limited resources on hiring someone for a few hours. Especially when you can’t learn much self-defense in a few hours, and almost none of it is lasting.
If you’re from a country other than America, it might be different, but if you’re referring American education then its important to remember you’re experiences (whatever they were) aren’t universal. No, really. Education varies heavily from district to district, and can be vastly different within single cities depending on where you live, this is before we get to county versus county, and that’s before we get to the differences between the states. In America, public education heavily dependent on money and property values. The higher the house value, the richer the district, then the better the education. Its important to know, that when it comes to education, segregation is economic. America and Americans have no real true standard for education or education value. What you get depends on where you live, and often on parental involvement.
You can’t learn self-defense in an hour or two. You will be fucked up by shitty instructors, sexist instructors, and negligent instructors. If you are not doing your own research and taking control of learning to defend yourself then you are likely to get one of the above. If you look at self-defense as all being the same, that combat is an innate skill set possessed by only one side of the human species, if you honestly believe on some level you are inferior to men (and if you’re young, white, female, and WASP, you better believe you’ve been conditioned by society at large to see yourself that way) and that there’s no point in even trying, you will be fucked.
Combat is a learned skill.
It is not innate. You have to learn it. It is not inherently masculine. If you are a woman learning to fight, you’re not actually all that special or standout. There are plenty of women out there learning to fight. However, you’ve got to go looking for it. It won’t be handed to you.
One of the most empowering aspects in learning to fight is taking control of your own safety.
You are no longer reliant on the charity or uncertainty of those around you, and that certainty will drive off most predators. Predators don’t want a real fight, they aren’t looking. 9/10, they want victims who are vulnerable and go down easy. So, whether you’re male or female, and you’re worried about your safety then head to your local police precinct, find a seminar, and that’ll point you toward freedom.
Women can take punches but not if they’re not prepared for it and whoever was teaching you is a shithead.
Don’t let their idiocy turn you into a willing victim.
This post is a public service announcement, not martial arts training.
Go get some.