Miss USA’s statement supporting self defense training for women created a firestorm of support and condemnation. Sentiments that were renewed after a number of sexual assaults on college campuses became big news. Here are some of the most common concerns and some responses…

Fighting Back Doesn’t Work for Women/You’re More Likely to Get Hurt

Certain situations aren’t worth the risk. If someone just wants your money, car, or other material possessions, just hand them over. However, once the attacker threatens or causes physical harm or if an attacker tries to take you away, then fighting back does work.

A large amount of research, including a 2005 study from the Department of Justice, has found that women who fight back can often stop an assault with no greater risk of injury. Some research has also shown that women who learn self defense are less likely to be attacked.

It Takes Hours of Specialized Training to Learn Effective Self Defense Techniques

In truth, self defense does not require specialized moves to be effective. Some well-timed and well-placed smacks can go far. The thought process is also one of the most important elements in self defense. Even a single self defense class can help change how you approach self defense.

There are several self defense systems but not many are effective for the general population. Even some forms of martial arts don’t translate to self defense. Be selective, if something seems too complicated for you to grasp, it probably won’t work. Regular training in any defense system will increase your options, make you more efficient, and improve conditioning. If you aren’t interested in regular training, attending a single class and occasional refreshers may help.

Krav Maga is one of the most effective and efficient ways of dealing with attacks. It focuses on simplistic response based on instinctive reactions you already have so there are fewer steps to learn.

Women Are More Likely to be Smaller and Weaker Than Their Attacker, It Is Unlikely They Can Overpower Their Attacker

This concern has come up in every women’s self defense seminar that I have been at in Dragon Within Martial Arts. And it’s true. If someone is attacking you, they are pretty sure that they can overpower you. If your only defense plan is to physically overpower your attacker, you will probably lose. In fact, as soon as you feel the attack, the fight may be mentally over because you will know you cannot physically beat your attacker.

Fortunately, effective self defense methods like Krav Maga start with the assumption that you are physically overpowered. Instead of physical strength this method relies on overwhelming the attacker’s thought process through smaller but effective attacks. No matter who the attacker is, he has vulnerable areas, and there will be opportunities to use them against him. Taking your attackers mind off of their goals even for just seconds at a time can give you the opportunity to escape.

A Focus on Self Defense Puts the Blame on the Women if She Can’t Adequately Defend Herself

Self defense simply provides more options, it does not mean a woman is responsible for stopping any attack or has to fight back. Decisions are completely dependent on the individual and their assessment of the situation. All negative outcomes from the attack are solely the responsibility of the attacker no matter how the victim responds.

Closely related is the mental health after an attack. Some studies have suggested that women who fought back but were unable to stop an attack had better mental health outcomes after a rape.

Focus Should be on Programs Targeting Attackers Not on Self Defense

This is a common concern on college campus or any community offering self defense options. It would be fantastic if simple intervention programs would completely stop violent attacks. However, violence is a complex social problem. It should certainly be addressed but it will take some time for social change to take place.

Self defense provides immediate options. It is also an empowering option in contrast to many other safety recommendations that focus on restrictions like not traveling alone at night or not drinking.



Dragon Within Mixed Martial Arts offers the most  functional and realistic self-defense and fitness programs in the North Shore area.

We offer Thai Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu(BJJ), Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), Krav Maga/Self-Defense and Children’s programs.


Don’t Wait!  Call TODAY to sign up for your Private Lesson 978-745-8511 Dragon Within Mixed Martial Arts, Salem MA, provides the                            most realistic and practical self-defense programs for Massachusetts and North Shore Area including: Peabody MA, Salem MA, Beverly MA, Lynn                           MA, Marblehead MA, Danvers MA

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