Judi Goldman: The Plant – May 2,1980
How often have you hesitated to walk home alone at night because you felt unsafe? How many times have you declined an invitation because it meant half-running down a semi-lit, secluded street, looking over your shoulder in terror? These and many others are the fears shared by most women, conditioned over the years to believe that they are weak, vulnerable and helpless. Certainly if they are never dissuaded from this notion, they will forever be the easy prey of attackers, since they are firmly convinced that they can do nothing to help themselves.
This last article is devoted to women of all ages, shapes, sizes and colors, from all walks of life.
In these days of everincreasing violence, self-defense for women has become a necessary part of survival. Doubtless we are all aware of rising rape and assault statistics. Sad to say, women have been brainwashed to passivity, which is why the statistics are what they are. However, the trend now is a tremendous increase in the popularity of self-defense; perhaps women need a shock to take a step in the righ t direction.
Roses have thorns, porcupines spines, skunks an unpelasant odor, octopi ink, birds peck or fly rapidly. Ironically, human beings, (female in particular) supposedly the most intelligent form of life on this planet, when faced with a threatening situation cannot deal with it as successfully as a member of the vegetable or animal kingdom, which says a lot for our superior brains.
When faced with danger, the re are three possibilities: to flee, to freeze, or to fight back. Society has drummed into males’ heads that they should stand up and fight. Unfortunately, women don’t get this kind of conditioning: they’re told, « girls don’t fight. » Moreover, even if they have the impulse to resist, they simply don’t have the knowledge. Therefore, a woman’s first Slen must be to recognize her self defense capabilities. Secondly, she must develop a conciousness and awareness of her surroundings. Thirdly, learn how to employ basic, effective techniques. And lastly and most important: she must remember never to panic, and to bear in mind always that believing she can save herself is half the battle; the other half is learning how. Given these, it’s 99.9 percent likely she WILL do it.
Just as important for women as the techniques them• selves is a keen awareness of their surroundings, so they can perceive poten tially dangerous situations and circumvent them. If this type of conciousness is developed, women will be able to avoid a majority of assaults since selfdefense should be preventive rather than curative. In other words, it is better to avoid an attack than to have to fight it off. Even a well-trained person should avoid going where he/She knows he/She will run into trouble.
Women have to deal with specific types of aggression such as forcible assault, where the aggressor is usually a stronger person and overconfident. She should capitalize on his overcon• fidence, because the element of surprise is the greatest weapon of all. One has to consider the fact that a woman’s body is generally physically weaker than a male’s, and sh~ is more easily subdued because she panics and attempts to use her feeble strength against her assailant. Only skill and surprise can overcome a stronger opponent. Naturally when faced with a sudden violen t situation it is easy to panic. Should this happen, the woman will be at a complete disadvantage since the logical thought processes of her mind will be thrown into total confusion and, as a result of her anxiety, her bodily energy will be wasted through futile attempts to dislodge her aggressor. The weaker of the two must always rely upon presence of mind and positive action.
A woman must thoroughly understand that she needn’t be a super-athlete to defend herself. Under stress of a dangerous attack, basic techniques arc always the most effective, because. they are straightforward and instinctive . .These basic techniques are ones which while maximizing the anatomical potential of a woman, are aimed at completely disabling the aggressor in the shortest possible ~ime. In a critical situation where her life is in danger, she should not hesitate to use any means at her disposal, bearing in mind that she cannot afford to give her aggressor another chance to attack.
Overall, self•defense for women is analogous to a first-aid course; it is that basic, essential, and efficient. Self-defense techniques can be easily learned and used by the busy, nonathletic woman, and for that matter – ALL women.
Self-defense is an integral part of Shorinjiryu Kenkokan Karatedo, but is also taught as a seperate discipline at Dawson College by Sensei Wayne Donivan.