Thursday, June 23, 2011


Logic of Violence does it better, because it is sneaky within the format, but for the quick down and dirty, we can be totally up front. You won't own it the same way, but the information is still valid.

At the Montreal seminar I asked, "Who is your nightmare opponent?" If you are a martial artist, take a few minutes and think about it.

One of the answers: "He'd be about 50% more than I weigh, much stronger with more skill and experience."

Yeah, that would suck, huh? Then add that he gets the first move at the time and place of his choosing. And he may be counting on a previous relationship with you to keep you from acting.

Gentlemen, our worst nightmare is where the average woman starts her day. We've been roughhousing, pushing and hitting each other since childhood and, largely, we've been encouraged. Sometimes overt, often subtle, girls have been punished when they wanted to play like that. So the average man reaches adulthood (even with no formal training) better trained and far more conditioned and experienced than almost any woman.

And men are stronger. We rarely get into contests of direct strength with women without holding back a lot, but when we do the difference is stark. (With the exception of KG and RM, two of my favorite cover officers.)

On top of it all, most women have only learned social strategies to deal with conflict...and social strategies not only fail but backfire when attempted on a predator.

Like I said, in LoV you come to this realization slowly and own it. Here it is quick and dirty. If you are teaching self-defense what you can do within your weight class doesn't mean anything. You need to teach people what works outmatched in strength, skill, experience and ferocity. How to deal when the assault is on before they are aware. And help them work out and overcome much of their social programming.

It can be done. It has been done. But not by staying in your comfort zone perspective.


Charles James said...

Logic of Violence ... sounds like a sequel to Facing Violence ??? ;-)

Anonymous said...

Comfort zone is key magical secret weapon that opens the door to mastery; women's class in bjj school is like a miracle. Guard's basically rape defense, nightmarish for a scared woman to practice with rough sweaty guys. With other women, not so bad. After a few weeks or months of rolling around with other women maybe try the small handsome nice-smelling married guy....

It's not like there's a shortcut*; you can't just skip to handling big strong tough guys before you can handle people your own size and conditioning, whatever that may be.

*Well,okay; guns. Stun guns and pepper spray work on *people*, sure, but not attackers. Knives work but you have to be... harder in spirit, let us say... than a shooter. You can get good enough to kill efficiently with a handgun via video games, let alone paintball, Airsoft, squirt guns....

Anonymous said...

FWIW, I disagree with Anonymous to some extent. Learning to roll with other women - or twelve-year-old kids, since that's my size- is pretty much a waste of my time. I might learn techniques or tools that work against someone my own size/strength, but that would be utterly futile against a realistic attacker.

I also think that in some ways it's pointless to work on building up to 'handling big strong tough guys.' Tell me that even the best martial artist feels he can 'handle' someone five times his strength and three times his size, when taken off guard, from behind. What women need to learn is a mindset. And if there is a technique or two that can reliably be used to at least momentarily 'handle' an attacker *regardless* of size/strength/position... well, that would be handy too.

Gun defense is a whole other subject. So is knife fighting.

Rory said...

To add to Irene's disagree, anon, look at judo before weight classes. There are specialized skills, even in sport, to handle bigger stronger people, but they are very different in technique and emphasis from the skills you need in your own weight class.

Fliff said...

I've been following your blog for a while now, but never really felt like I should comment, however I really appreciate what you wrote today. I read your post and how you feel about being labeled a hero, so I will instead say that I really admire you and I'm looking forward to your seminar next month. Thanks for being you.

shugyosha said...

My personal nightmare? I weight 135 lbs. so you might say I'm a woman, in this regard.

Have you seen Marc's RenFair photo? The one he's looking the camera like a curious ferret? With sunglasses on his head, white shirt, reddish vest and three badges. That's the only pic of him that's ever made me think "ohshit!". Clint with that look or on a rage would be scary. I'm way more scared of moods / attitudes than size, so it's difficult to put an image to the nightmare.

Anonymous said...

The Gracies have a Women Empowered self defense program out on DVD.

They cover a lot of these issues and cover them well, I think.

Lise Steenerson said...

AMEN Rory!!! About time men realize what you are speaking of.
Just like it is easy for us (women) to subdue a small child, same is true for a man trying to subdue us if we are not prepare with the right arsenal.
And it's not just about dealing with someone stronger and bigger than us. When a large angry man comes at you screaming and threatening you... it's terrifying. I don't care how good a fighter you are , if you have never felt/ dealt with the "angry chi/ vibes", you need to add this to your training.

Men you are not doing your female students/ training partners any favors by treating them like wall flowers. I am not saying to go full force on them and cause them major injuries but they need to have the confidence that what they are doing works against a "realistic" attack. If it doesn't work for them, they need to know NOW.. not out on the street against someone who is trying to rape/ kill them.

Again... I owe a lot to my own sensei for not treating me like a girl.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this post.
Even guys who understand about the strength differences don't usually follow through and consider the difference in life experience and psychological conditioning.

Anonymous said...

What if you were raised with the personal philosophy that 'Women can do anything a man can do' and you think women are equals of men?
How can women demand equal pay AND claim they need special protections?