Home > Karate, Martial Arts, Philosophy, Self -Defense, Women's Self-Defense > Fight Like A…Excuse Me???

Fight Like A…Excuse Me???


This has been eating at me for a very long time and I finally HAD to get it off my chest. I am not the kind of person or martial artist that intentionally says things that put others in a dim light. In this case I have to say what I feel. You can do your own research on it (funny how people very seldom research anything these days and just take what they hear or read initially at face value) and come to your own conclusions. If you disagree with me, that’s fine. You have that right. At least maybe I will make you think and hopefully avoid getting taken advantage of in the future.

There are a lot of women’s self-defense courses out there. Pretty much all you have to do is Google it and you can find tons of them. There is one in particular that has come to just be my “golly gee favorite”.

The name of the course is “Fight Like A Girl”. It was created by a lady named Kym Rock (spiffy cool ROCKIN name right). According to her website Ms. Rock is a seven time world karate champion. OK, I’m not a youngster. I’ve been doing this a long time. I even fought on the tournament circuit for quite a few years. I’ve never even heard the name. There is nothing on the internet about her except the things she has written about herself on her website and Facebook, advertisements from studios sponsoring her class, and some YouTube interviews of her. The one site I did find supporting her claims stated the exact information from her website almost as if it had been cut and pasted.

Ms. Rock also says she was a victim of domestic violence. Fair enough. That is a terrible thing and I won’t belittle it. I actually fight against it myself. If anyone knows me or has read anything I have written, they know this to be true and know that I have the most compassionate of hearts when it comes to the subject or women being attacked or abused…period. Spousal abuse, bullying, child abuse, and women being harmed in any way are the things in this world that I detest the most and do everything in my power to help attempt to delete from our society. Read my post: Young Lady, You need to call us.

Here we have a seven-time world karate champion who suffered spousal abuse. She decides “I’m going to do something about this”. Admirable. She gets out of the relationship. She starts a women’s self-defense program. She gives it a hip name. She becomes famous. Does this remind anyone of a really bad Life-Time movie so far?

OK. First of all the very name of the course is demeaning to any woman out there who has suffered abuse or being attacked. There is a huge page on the internet dedicated to the evolution of the system that also goes into the name of the program but seriously “Fight Like A Girl” is nothing more than a cute little catch phrase. Quite simply it is something someone will say to another person who they believe cannot fight. It is in direct opposition of the phrase “Fight like a man” or “Act like a man” or even “Take it like a man”. The entire thing disgusts me to the point of nausea. Admittedly, I have used it in my own women’s classes. However, I tell the ladies that you don’t fight like a girl. You fight the way you have been taught to fight and no one has taken the time to teach you the right way to do it.

Being fair about it I actually watched some of the clips of some of her seminars. They aren’t bad…but they aren’t anything special either. Basically they take a group of women who know nothing about self-defense (no foul there, that’s the kind of student you’re going to get at a seminar like this) and teach them some techniques anyone can learn in any self-defense class that they decide to go to after they do that Google search I mentioned. It’s a great time. It’s a fun time. It’s educational. It’s bonding and it’s empowering! It has an almost Spice Girls concert kind of feel. GIRL POWER right? It seems a lot of the seminars are FREE. They get you hooked and you want to take the actual classes. Well you’re in luck because there is usually a local instructor there to guide you right to his studio and get you signed up. And, for your money (about $99.00 on the low end as far as I could tell) you get a tee shirt!!! And just enough training that you will forget by the next week and get yourself hurt if you attempt it in a real situation.

There are plenty of these types of classes or seminars out there. It’s nothing new. Here’s where it gets really interesting. For a fee I’m sure, although I never actually gave the course enough credence to research the prices any further, you can become a certified “Fight Like A Girl” instructor (aka, that friendly local instructor that was at the seminar).  Does no one out there even see anything remotely like a pyramid scheme here? I have to admit that the money making philosophy and marketing techniques behind it are awesome! You set yourself up as a “Rock Star” (intentional play on words), develop a mediocre self-defense program, market it to people’s fears (especially women’s fears), and go to work selling yourself. To make it even more profitable you don’t hire people to advertise for you, you make those people pay you to become certified in your course. After that, they do the majority of the work for you by advertising your seminars and classes at their studios in hopes that THEY make money from it. You travel around a little, do some “free” seminars (of course the hosting instructor probably pays for your expenses), and you just rake in the profits. Isn’t that a neat little box?

Search this blog. Check out my dojo’s website. ASK people who know me or my school. I have been doing women’s self- defense seminars and classes for a long time. Know what I charge for them? You guessed it: Absolutely Nothing. It’s called a COMMUNITY SERVICE. I put tips on this blog for anyone, man or woman, who wants to read them and learn.  We are thinking of putting some self-defense clips on here so we can show you actual techniques to defend yourself. And those classes I mentioned: everything is boiled down to its simplest form so the moves are easy to remember and effective.

I will say this to those of you out there who want to learn to defend yourself: don’t be hustled by some snake oil salesman. There are plenty of true martial artists out there that are more than willing to help you for a very inexpensive fee or even for free. All you have to do is look and research a little bit and you can find them. Or even better, sign up for some actual martial arts classes and make studying how to defend yourself part of your life.

To Ms. Rock: Am I saying that you’re a bad person? No. Am I saying your intentions, in the beginning anyway, aren’t good? No. What I am saying is that if you are legit about what you are doing, bless you. If you were legit then got caught up in something that suddenly mutated itself and became a monster, step back and think about what you’re doing. Because, you see, to a true old school martial artist, you appear to be taking advantage of people’s fear to make yourself rich. I understand that money and fame can be addictive but if you are in this for the money as your appearance leads anyone who has been at this for a while to believe, you are just as abusive as the people in your past. You simply present that abuse in a different way.

There is a positive side to Fight Like A Girl and what Ms. Rock is doing. A part of it is about Breast Cancer Awareness. Great cause and I’ll give credit where credit is due. If all of your profit is going to that I bow humbly to you and applaud your efforts.

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  1. February 20, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Yeah, I also am getting just a tad fatigued about all these websites that promise to “grow your web-based business” for “nominal” fees for online classes. Heck, guys like you and Art at zendictive website provide so much for no fees at all. And when I want to learn some martial arts, I will sign up for some actual classes for which I will be happy to pay the dojo owner/instructor!

  2. February 20, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Those words “grow your business” make my skin crawl.
    Wise words granbee.
    Thank you for your post.

  3. February 21, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    This reminds me of the way many people interperet Tae Bo after their first few exposures. Billy Blanks is a great guy and very skilled, and Tae Bo is a killer workout program, lots of integrity and value in the workout arena. They do amazing things for self esteem and personal growth but they dont help with the measurable force of violence.

    I specifically remember a commercial of testimonials where a young lady says she feels better about walking to her car and she feels like she could “kick butt” if she was attacked. Watch a Tae Bo workout and then watch a youtube fight and tell me the problem with her logic.

    Its nice these programs increase confidence, (and that lady decreases her chances of being attacked by radiating confidence) but the downfall is they also give false ideas of what violence really is.

  4. February 22, 2012 at 7:53 am

    Yes. Increased confidence is a good thing. The problem I have with this is it is a mass-produced program sold to the masses with more hype than help.

    Tae Bo was an exercise program. That is what it was marketed as in the beginnig at least. It was never meant to be a self-defense course just basically an awesome aerobic kick-boxing routine designed to lose weight and get in shape.

    Trust me, I wrestled with publishing the post. I actually published it then took it down. I sat up for a long time that night trying to decide whether to put it out or not.

    I think what you said about the false ideas it propagates is my main concern. People like you, Master Brecht, and myself have experienced real-world violence. I’m not saying Domestic violence isn’t “real world”. It is simply a diffrent kind of violence than that one may encounter when faced with a sudden and serious attack where the attacker has no regard for the victim’s life, only gaining what is wanted at any cost.

    As I said to anyone who reads this, research it. Make your own decisions about it. Compare it to other programs out there.

  5. February 23, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    http://mysterycoachdsi.wordpress.com/2012/02/21/versatile-blogger-award-2/

    I forgot to put this here the other day! LOL 🙂

    And I agree with that fella up there, people don’t understand what violence is until they’re confronted with it. They’re literally separate animals.

    well… Now, I made a post today as I was arrested (yes, little ole me) for defending myself against someone in a domestic violence situation and I assure you they don’t are about you either when they attack you. There’s a purpose in that which is unmistakeable and should never be … well, you’re not being dismissive. Perhaps discounted in severity is a good idea. On THAT note I once spoke to a woman who was taking marital arts classes just so she could defend herself against her husband at the time.

    I politely asked her… Are you saying leaving hasn’t crossed your mind? She was quite proud of her abilities however, I do believe she was a tad skewed in her thinking as to the purpose of the class… I still say 100% all people need to know some form of self defense. I think others would think twice before doing something violent because there “would” be a fight… I may not be saying this right …. (just got back from the dentist) so… understand? 🙂

    • February 24, 2012 at 8:10 am

      Thank you MC. I am flattered and humbled. Some people can handle recognition better than me I suppose. I usually blush and get tongue tied.

      I appreciate it very much. Even more, I appreciate you and all the others who read my ramblings

      • February 24, 2012 at 8:13 am

        You are most welcome. 🙂 Twice (one for the award and the other for reading your blog. Which I enjoy.

  6. April 12, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Hello Mr. J White –

    It came to my attention that you have some questions about our personal violence prevention program, Fight Like A Girl. So, I wanted to give you a little more information. Sensei Rock (yes, that’s her real name) has been taking and teaching Shorinji-ryu karate for 27 years in the organization descended from Master Ogawa. She owned a successful martial arts school for 17 years. You can look up her competitive credentials on the national organization websites if you like. Her name is on their sites for her wins and Hall of Fame inductions. She’s not really motivated by the titles. They were a by-product of years of studying karate and a lot of hard work.

    More importantly, what brought her to the local karate instructor in her early 20s was the physical and mental abuse she was experiencing from her husband. She didn’t want to workout or learn kata or compete. She just wanted to learn how to stop getting beat up every day. Sensei Rock is 5’2″ (with her hair spiked) and her husband was a 6’4″ tall police officer. Going to the authorities brought a direct statement that they would do nothing to help her. She was on her own – except for her karate instructor.

    As she learned the traditional self-defense techniques taught in her class, she found that they wouldn’t work for her – no matter how well she did them. Her classmates (all men) and Sensei had to agree that most of the techniques were designed for a taller person with more upper body strength… specifically, a man. So, frustrated with the futility of regular self-defense to keep her from being abused, she and her Sensei began developing techniques that would work for her small frame and a woman’s strengths – legs and hips and brains.

    Years later, after teaching “women’s self-defense” seminars with the new skills, she was trying to think of a name to identify how the skills she and her Sensei were teaching were different. One of her young male karate students said to a classmate during a sparring round, “You Fight Like A Girl” and she thought, “That’s it!” That’s exactly how they should fight – with their heads and techniques, not just brute strength and bully punching. That’s the art and flow of true karate.

    Fight Like A Girl teaches women and kids how to use their opponents’ strengths and attacks against them to escape. The free public seminars scratch the surface of FLAG escape techniques, situational awareness, and how to think smarter and use what you have to get away from an attacker, abductor or abuser. We get in as much as the time will allow. They are fun and high-energy, yet teach hard hitting truths and practical skills.

    The full curriculum of regular classes, just like karate classes, teaches the depths of personal violence prevention for women and girls, both through the physical fitness skills and advanced techniques, as well as the life skills that are missing in the lives of so many women and girls. There are ten ranks of progression to black belt with a serious concentration on escape skills, reversals, weapons, fitness, disarmament and the life skills to live a safer and more considered life.

    Besides, it IS fun for ladies to have a class to call their own in the martial arts, where they can break out of their comfort zone in a team environment and thrive without the self-consciousness they often feel in a class with men. Fight Like A Girl means to think smarter and get away. It’s not about standing around and fighting. It’s not about competition. It’s about having the mental strength and knowledge to act in the smartest way possible to avoid violence and live the best life possible. Just like karate, it takes on-going classes and repetition to make that knowledge muscle memory so you can use it effectively under duress.

    At the height of her career, Sensei Rock was diagnosed with cancer and found that everything she had been teaching in the physical had to be adapted to the mental for her to Fight Back against the cancer and the devastation it wreaks on your life and career, especially as a martial artist and school owner with classes to teach every day and seminars to give. She taught Fight Like A Girl for free for decades for the local domestic violence shelter (she was a board member) and the alternative high school and almost every other group that asked. Fight Like A Girl has been a personal mission and charity for Sensei Rock for over 13 years. She’s put her life’s earnings and then some into reaching out to help women and kids.

    After beating the cancer, she realized that to really make a difference in the statistics of violence in our country, she would have to enable others to teach the program so more women and kids could be reached. 1 in 3 women in our country are victims of violent abuse. This is insane. Yet, women don’t readily walk into martial arts schools to learn how to protect themselves.

    So – we set out to change that – to open the doors of the martial arts to women in a way that would entice them to come in and give it a try. Sure, it’s pink – Power Pink – and its FUN and encouraging and the gi’s and belts or jerseys don’t make a nervous new student look like the pillsbury dough boy… but all in all, Fight Like A Girl is old school Japanese karate with a twist. The twist takes the power from the upper body to the lower body and gives women and kids a fair chance to hold their own and get away from someone who sees them as a target.

    Hopefully, a new wave of women and girls come into the martial arts through FIght Like A Girl and learn how to think smarter and defend themselves so that every time you look out into a group of ladies and girls, a third of them haven’t had something irreplaceable stolen from them by violence. As a new instructor recently said, “Life isn’t fluffy.” People have to know these skills.

    I hope you can see that Fight Like A Girl is on a mission to make a difference and change the world. Just because the packaging is a little hipper (thanks for the compliment) and we use memorable names for complex skill sets, instead of the traditional jargon, and we let the ladies feel a bit more confident in the style of their workout uniforms, doesn’t mean it isn’t just as valid of a martial art as the traditional Okinawan weapons Sensei Rock teaches her students for karate competitions. Maybe we’ll do some FIght Like A Girl in hakamas one day soon – and we’d love to have your support in saving lives.

    Alison Perry
    Co-owner, Fight Like A Girl Inc.

  7. April 12, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    Anyone out there think I’m not fair? Ms Perry sent this today and I immediately approved and posted it.

    It is rather ironic that I published my original post almost two months ago and the VERY DAY Fight Like A Girl is having one of their free seminars here in town the Co-Owner of the corporation responds.

    Your post is compelling. I give credit to you for that. I am actually flattered that you took the time to respond to an old traditional Sensei’s ranting.

    As most people who know me understand, and as I have said in my blog, dojo, and in public I do not believe in making monetary gain from other people’s fears. I have been doing Women’s Self-Defense classes and seminars for no cost for a very long time as a Community Service. I have taken traditional martial arts techniques of many styles and self-defense techniques taught by the Federal Government to Law Enforcement Officers (because I’ve been one for over 20 years) and tailored them to fit anyone of any size, shape, or gender.

    If you are truly trying to make a difference, I commend you and wish you luck.

    • April 12, 2012 at 3:28 pm

      Thank you, Sensei White. I just received a link to your post this afternoon and felt your comments were valid and deserved a reply. We, too, have seen our share of thrown- together programs and drive-through karate. We truly are trying to make a difference and Fight Like A Girl has been a mission and community service for years. It is just coming into its own as a business so that others are able to help the cause and reach out to help women and kids – and guys! Sensei Rock would have replied, but she is setting up for tonight’s seminar and has Girl Scouts events all weekend. Hopefully we will meet one day and thank you for accepting my post. Have a wonderful evening. Alison Perry

  8. April 29, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    Here’s a little follow-up for any of the faithful readers of this blog. My wife and youngest daughter were at the local Wal Mart today. They met a lady who teaches and studies Krav Maga here in town. She was giving a young woman personal self-defense lessons. The young lady she was teaching had attended the Fight Like A Girl seminar and the Krav Maga instructor was appaled at exactly what they had taught the girl.

    One of the “techniques” she had learned was a defense from a front one-handed choke. She had been taught to grab the hand, bend her knees, and throw her body back placing her feet up and on the attacker and “monkey flipping” him over her.

    Am I crazy or is there ANY women (or men for that matter) out there who weigh 110 pounds going to actually risk doing something like this when their attacker out-weighs them by 100 pounds? The BEST you could hope for is that he does NOT land right on top of you and EXACTLY where he wants to be.

    Ms Perry told me that FLAG was invented because women were weaker than most male attackers and could not defend themselves against someone larger and stronger than themselves. Excuse me but why the hell would any one, male or female, be dumb enough to pull their attacker on top of them? Is anyone’s acrobatics really that well?

    Ladies, you are not that weak. PLEASE don’t be that weak minded to think that pure BS like this will ever work in a real life situation.

  9. April 30, 2012 at 7:47 am

    Hello Sensei White –

    I can assure that this lady did NOT learn that technique from one of Kym Rock’s Fight Like A Girl seminars as we would never teach that risky maneuver. We teach simple, but effective, escape techniques for the purpose of getting away from an attacker. We would not encourage anyone to attempt such a stunt to defend an attack.

    Unfortunately, even though we have the registered trademark for Fight Like A Girl and Sensei Rock has been teaching it for over 13 years, lots of people like to “borrow” the name for their own seminars – even though that’s illegal because of instances of brand confusion just like this.

    Please don’t confuse such demo tricks as real Fight Like A Girl techniques. At seminars, we teach the simplest methods of escape – the easiest to remember and least likely to be confusing. Even our upper ranks of the FLAG curriculum, for on-going students, do not teach someone to endanger themselves in such a way. There are much simpler ways to get out of a one-handed choke.

    Thank you for your fairness in posting my reply. I believe we are both trying to save lives and FLAG always emphasizes that we are trying to give the person being attacked a 3-5 second window of escape. It’s not about a show or sticking around to fight or being unrealistically confident.

    Alison Perry

    • May 8, 2012 at 9:57 am

      Alison,

      From a lot of soul searching and out of respect for your bold and sincere defense of your program, I have come to realize in my heart that any sort of conflict this blog may be causing is a waste of time and energy for all of us.

      I will say the one thnig I have said from the start, or at least meant from the start, FLAG if nothing else raises awareness. That is a very positive thing and it is needed in today’s society.

      I have had my reasons for things I have written and said but looking back I think they have been a bit misplaced.

      Those reasons are perhaps private but should not be aimed at FLAG.

      I think in a few days I am going to delete this entire thread. There is too little time in this life to squander it or wasting energy that could be used in a more positive manner.

      • May 8, 2012 at 10:52 am

        Thank you, Sensei White, for taking the time to consider our conversation and for being open-minded enough to read my responses. We are both, I believe, trying to make a positive impact on the world through an art that has many misconceptions to non-participants. In fact, Sensei Rock used to offer to teach defense skills to kids for free in the schools, and because her business had “karate” in the name, the schools said, “No thanks, we don’t want to teach kids to fight.” Just one of many reasons that Fight Like A Girl evolved… It opens doors because people have fewer preconceptions. But the core is the same. In a real threat situation, get away from the attacker as quickly and safely as possible. I wish you the best in your mission to help people be the best that they can be and stay safe…. that’s what it’s really all about. Take care.

  10. May 8, 2012 at 10:59 am

    Please do be aware that there are a lot of people around the country using the Fight Like A Girl name illegally – some without our knowledge – and we have no idea what they are teaching! However, the Pearson’s in Canon City, CO are certified instructors with us and should be teaching the escape techniques as we developed them. If you come across any other folks teaching Fight Like A Girl and skills that don’t seem to line up with our discussion, please let me know. Thank you!

  11. May 13, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    Alison

    I very much wish you and I could have talked personally about some of this. That may have cleared up some of the issues and gave you the opportunity to see on a more personal level where I was coming from.

    Please continue to raise people’s awareness and know that I will do the same.

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