Can a Skinny Girl or Boy Kick Butt?

Posted by: John W. Zimmer
Under: Self-defense
12 Dec 2011


You’ve all seen the ads – you know the ones about the 90 pound weakling getting sand kicked on his face. What did you think? I mostly think scam as the bigger guy/gal would take the skinny girl or guy right? Anyway a lot of comic books pushed this stuff when I was younger.


I thought if I bought the Ketsugo book or xray glasses or whatever – as a kid – it would really work! I mean all I had to do was buy the hypnotism book and I could sway people to my way of thinking… right?


Ok – reality check… something for almost nothing is mostly worth nothing but the ideas might have had merit. Today we have those xray machines to search people at the airport. Psychology has come a long way since Freud – counseling can actually have a positive effect nowadays. Any let me tell you about those skinny kids – some of them can really fight – but they have to be willing to do whatever it takes to get the advantage on a bigger, stronger assailant!.


In this post I’ll outline what is possible and some of what I’ve seen – contrary to what most people think. I’ll also give some insight of what it takes to achieve the self mastery to defend yourself (if you really want to… that is always the question).



As a young man and after dealing with some bullies – I was obsessed with learning how to fight. That is probably why I learned to to fight as a teenager. But I had a disadvantage over a lot of people as a grew up – I was 155 pounds out of high-school and at nearly six feet a lot of guys were taller than me.


I remember getting run over when I sparred some of those big guy as I did not know what to do if they did not respect my space. A lot of big guys knew they were stronger and they figured if they could not punch me – they would just run me over. :)


The cool thing was when I started taking Kenpo – my instructor (Dick Willett) taught me not only how to kick and punch but how to connect and not take too many punches. All of these tactics were important in fighting. A truly good fighter had to take out their opponent without taking too much damage or the next fighter would take them out!


What do I mean the next fighter? Well fights are not fair. By the very nature of self defense – it is a last resort (or should be) when you have tried every other option to settle your dispute. So in real fights you will be sick, tired, injured, drunk, or blindsided! You have to efficiently dispatch the first attacker and move on to the next or die (hopefully figuratively).


But what about the skinny girl that gets attacked by a 250 pound thug? What can she do? Well that is what is great about martial arts. It is the great equalizer if the skinny kid has gumption/cojones/balls. I mean first the skinny kid has to know how to fight and then be willing to defend him/her self!


Say you are a skinny 90 pound girl that has achieved a brown belt in karate from a style that make students spar with sem-contact. That is ideal because the skinny girl in this example will have been hit before and knows how to avoid many strikes.


Lets be real however – a 250 pound guy smacking a 90 girl on the jaw will not turn out good for the girl. So how can she defend herself?


Firstly she has to keep her distance from the attacker by moving around and striking at opportune targets such as the nuts – eyes – throat and such. She cannot stay in range for long and has to explode in and back. As soon as she has the time – she had to get away or if she cannot – get a makeshift weapon and take care of business.


Here are a couple of points to consider – does the skinny kid really want to know how to fight? Does he or she take the lessons seriously and does instructor know what he/she is doing? I mean can they walk the walk (forget about talk the talk – talk is cheap – anyone can do it).


If the kid learns all of the tools of fighting and does not learn from a banger (a slugger – someone that likes to meet head to head and slug it out) – then he or she has a chance to learn how to fight (defend themselves).


What do I say don’t learn from a slugger? Why a slugger only is effective if he comes up against someone of equal or lesser weight normally. Try trading blows with a bigger – stronger person – and you will probably lose.


So what is the right way for a skinny kid to learn how to fight?


  1. The kid does not have the luxury of standing his or her ground – must move around do some lightning strikes and get out of dodge at an angle.
  2. The kid cannot hit the normal targets as it will  have little effect… he/she must hit the really vulnerable targets (another reason to not enter into a fight unless your life and limb is threatened – what will have to do to defend yourself is gonna be brutal).
  3. Kicking the nuts, eye gouges, punching the adams apple, slapping the ears, biting the face, whatever it takes with no quarter until you can get away is what your gonna have to do.
  4. This all assumes you (or the skinny kid) has a burning desire to learn how to get an advantage on anyone.


How do you know if you have it in you? Well as a boy and into my mid-twenty’s (until I was a third degree black belt), I imagined how I was going to drop everyone I met that looked threatening to me. As I was treated badly by big guys – I especially loved sparring them in karate school so make sure I could get over on them… you know if you can do it in the karate school – the street will be easy.


So for all of you skinney kids out that that want to learn how to defend yourself (fight) – there is hope but you have to want it very badly. It will be harder for you to get over on a bigger – stronger person and it is not fair. But so what. If you want it bad enough – you can do it.


I’ve seen plenty of examples of women taking on guys. One then green belt woman (black belt now I think) was pumping gas and a guy robbed the center cash register. He tried to run through this woman, Cathy, and made the mistake of telling her, “Out of my way – B!!!h.” Cathy wheel kick him in the nuts and ridged handed his face! He dropped the money and ran!


I hope you too will see the advantage of learning how to fight – no matter what adversity you may be up against. It is your life and I think you are worth it!

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5 Responses to “Can a Skinny Girl or Boy Kick Butt?”

  1. Dr. J Says:

    You mean the Buddhist hand palm technique doesn’t work??

    My motto as a martial artist for a while now has been, “The bigger they are, the harder they hit!” :-)

    Funny thing is, I also learned that I didn’t have to hit as hard as “they” could, just hard enough. After incapacitating a few with kicks to the more delicate areas, or simple finger snaps to the eyes, I realized I could have a chance, even with a much larger opponent, and that was enough for me! Confidence cannot be overrated.

  2. Caitlind Gauthier Says:

    I was looking for this kind of information for quite a long time, i am also a skinny guy, happy to find this post, it seems very helpful, thanks for sharing, keep up the good work.
    Caitlind Gauthier recently posted..Open forex accountMy Profile

  3. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hey Dr. J!

    A very realistic motto – I love it.

    I like how you cut them down to edible chunks. :)

    Hi Caitlind,

    Glad to have shares something you can use.

    Hang in there.

  4. Matt Klein Says:

    Hi John, so great to finally see you in person. Thanks so much for coming out to support me on my 5th Dan grading, and for taking the photos. They were great!

    Yes, I realized the power of technique and toughness over size when I watched Royce Gracie defeat guys 70 pounds heavier. Most 200-lb. guys would have their hands full if they took on Manny Pacquio. Skill and experience wins every time.
    Matt Klein recently posted..Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Drills With One ArmMy Profile

  5. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hey Matt!

    First congratulations on your getting the fifth degree black belt Matt! You and Calvin (got his fourth degree) both earned it.

    I enjoyed your testing and meeting you too. It was quite interesting hearing about how you started teaching kids karate in Australia and created a teaching model that fully supported kids.

    Yep – Python is the word that comes to mine fighting the Gracie’s. I really like watching Pacquio’s fights… He seems to wear down the bigger guys with his unorthodox always-attacking style.