Home > Karate, Martial Arts, Philosophy, Random Thoughts, Self -Defense, Women's Self-Defense > Fight Like A…oh I dunno “Warrior” maybe

Fight Like A…oh I dunno “Warrior” maybe


chloe_bruce

I’ve touched on this subject before. OK, I’ve done a tad bit more than “touch” on it. The thing nags at me to no end and I can’t help but comment on it again.

There seems to be a mindset going around these days that women are not suited for traditional karate. The idea is that women are smaller and weaker than men and therefore many of the moves and techniques in traditional karate cannot and will not possibly work for them. I’m not sure how things have gotten so blurred with this subject. I think a large part of it comes from our modern view of karate and the martial arts in general. We have watered them down so much that they are meaningless to anyone who is serious about self-defense. People, and I mean a majority of those who teach and promote martial arts, have lost the true meaning of “traditional” karate. People who know little or nothing of karate see competitions and watch “forms” which are beautifully choreographed sequences of movements. They are very pretty, very graceful, and lack one shred of anything that would be useful to defend yourself if you had to rely on them.

On the other side of the coin we are bombarded with images of MMA fighters. Many, not all but many, of these athletes are huge muscle-bound fighters. They are intimidating to the average person. I have trained for many years and I have to admit that I would have reservations about ticking one of them off.

So, we have been exposed to two different views of what martial arts are about. The meaning of much of traditional karate has been lost. In that meaning lies the very reason that it is not only suitable for women but, for many reasons, women can excel in it much more than their male counterparts.

There are many women of all ages who practice traditional karate. I have listed in the past a short list of some very famous female martial artists including Cynthia Rotheric and Chloe Bruce. Guess what? Despite this new mindset that traditional martial arts aren’t suitable for women, women practicing them is not a new phenomenon. In the infancy of martial arts Shaolin nuns were very formidable in Kung Fu.

I have no idea where the “Masters” of this art or that art or the creators of many of the newer self-defense programs for women are getting their ideas but here are two of the main reasons many of them are citing as to why that you ladies just can’t do it.

• You are smaller in stature than a man
• You are not as physically strong as a man

Ok. Duh. I’m not being disrespectful but honestly these are simply biological facts. Here’s the secret that these people simply do not get: these things are NOT disadvantages in karate. In fact, women have many advantages over men.

Got your interest?

Karate was designed to provide an effective way to defend yourself from an aggressor who is larger and more powerful than you. Though not designed specifically with women in mind, Karate is a martial art that relies very heavily on skill to overcome brute force. Most men will rely on their physical presence to overpower their victim(s), but a well placed blow at the correct time will stop anyone.

Any idiot can make a fist and lash out wildly using weight and brute strength. Karate teaches precision, timing and accuracy to land a single blow which “stops” your attacker.

A woman’s muscles are shorter than a man’s, so they contract and expand quicker. This means that a woman has a natural speed advantage.

The mechanical make up of a woman’s body gives them more fluid and flexible hips, and most of the power in Karate techniques comes from the hips. Women are much better at using their hips to generate power in their punches and kicks (ever look at the average guy trying to dance at a night club? Then you know how hard it is for men to use their hips efficiently!)

Any type of physical training can be rough on women. Physical training can be tough on ANYONE but in Karate you are taught how to train properly. How to move, hit, punch, kick, fall and avoid an opponent. The heart of Karate is learning how not to get hurt.

Statistics tell us that one in three women world-wide will be assaulted at least once in their lives. Karate won’t stop you from being assaulted but it can certainly help change the expected outcome of the assault.

When a woman learns Karate, she also learns self-defense, self-confidence and self-esteem which allows her to be able to go out in life with less fear and with a warmer and more open attitude.

So to all of you “self-defense gurus” and “women’s self-defense masters” out there that are promoting the line of crap that women are too weak to learn and practice traditional karate, to all of you out there with your programs or your films on YouTube who are saying that some of the techniques of traditional karate are too difficult for women to perform, please stop.

You need to seriously take a long look in the mirror. There may be legitimate reasons that karate didn’t work for you. The two that come to mind quickest are:

• Your instructor wasn’t much of an instructor. I am a Sensei, a teacher, it is my JOB to teach my students. Let me re-phrase that. It is my RESPONSIBILITY to teach my students. If I have student who is struggling with a technique it is my duty as that student’s teacher to work with them until they can make it work. If the moves are too difficult it is up to me to modify those moves to the point the student, male or female, can execute them successfully.

• You simply didn’t try hard enough. I know before you start whining to me that was such a cruel statement. How dare I say such a thing. The very nerve of me to even suggest that it could have possibly been your fault. We do kihon (basics) every single class in my dojo. Each class I tell my students that if they have to use karate to defend themselves in real life that they are going to react in the real world exactly as they do in the dojo. (To be honest that isn’t entirely true. In a real attack you will lose much of your learned motor skills due to adrenalin dump and several other factors in that moment.) You have to practice with all seriousness. If you do not, you will lose. Plain and simple. After you lose you will come to me and probably quit saying that karate doesn’t work. In truth, the karate worked; you didn’t.

For you ladies out there that are reading this; stop believing every bit of hype that you hear or read on the internet. If you’re listening to someone who’s telling you that you are too small or too weak for karate (or anythng else for that matter) politely tell them to go sell their BS to someone else. That is what they are doing you know. They are attempting to sell you a line of goods to convince you of something that isn’t true in order for you to buy into their program or mindframe. Don’t allow yourself to be suckered in. If you are in a martial arts program and find some of the techniques to difficult, go to your instructor and tell him / her that you are having problems. A Sensei worth their salt will do everything they can to help you succeed.

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  1. December 30, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    Happy New Year, Sensei !

  2. January 1, 2013 at 2:06 am

    Happy New Year, Ren. May 2013 be blessed for you

  3. January 19, 2013 at 8:40 am

    My six year old daughter wants to take karate classes 🙂 I’m looking into it.

    • January 19, 2013 at 8:42 am

      Six is a great age to start and karate has many benefits that can help a child develope into a peaceful, confident, and more productive person. Do some research and find a good teacher in your area.

      • January 19, 2013 at 8:44 am

        I will do that. I think it will be good for her 🙂

      • January 19, 2013 at 11:11 pm

        Good for you. If you need any help, please ask

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