Indian Girls Learn Self Defense!

Posted by: John W. Zimmer
Under: Self-defense
29 Sep 2009

7 Responses to “Indian Girls Learn Self Defense!”

  1. TheTraveller001 Says:

    wonderful way to bring self empowerment and courage.

  2. Zara Says:

    I’m all for self-defense, especially for those who are weaker physically like girls, women, children and older people. Bullying is a real problem facing kids and teenagers today (all over the world too, as evidenced by this video) and it should be dealt with, teaching self-defense in my view is an excellent way of doing this. First of all because it gives you the tools to fend off physical assaults (rendering you a hard target, bullies generally do not pick fights which they’re likely to lose), secondly because it gives you confidence in your own abilities and worth as a person. To me this is even more important than the physical aspect: as a kid I was picked on for years and this left me quite insecure and socially inept. I went to my parents with this and all they did was advise me to ‘talk to the guy’ and whine to the principal every once in a while (which did exactly nothing, especially since they were smart enough not to use physical violence), to this day I still blame my dad for all this unnecessary suffering. If he had just done his duty as a man and a father (as you did for your son) and showed me a few basic punches and defenses I would have been able to confront the ringleader head-on and beat some respect into him (strike the shepard and the herd will disperse). Too bad he’s a pacifist (in a lot of cases just another word for coward, in this case it’s entirely appropriate since he dodged the draft and refused to serve in the army, supposedly because it was against his ‘conscious’) and never learned any MA himself: his excuse was that fighting is vulgar (‘plebeian’ he called it) and not done, under any circumstances. The result was that I had to pay the price for his incompetence and bad parenting (not teaching your children to stand up for themselves, or at least not referring them to others if you cannot do it yourself, means you have failed them in a very significant way) and I’m positive a lot of people were and still are harmed this way with consequences that could be far reaching and dire (every year people, both teenagers and adults, commit suicide because of bullying and this is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg).

    I think this attitude is typical in modern society and a source of a lot of unnecessary grief. Of course you should not resort to violence at the first opportunity or out of pride or gain (this would make you a bully yourself) but the adage ‘violence is never the answer’ is plain false. Some people just cannot be reasoned with and the answer to violence (be it psychological or physical) is counter-violence or at least a credible threat (back off or you will get hurt), to me this is pure common-sense and a basic human-right (the right to exist and to live free from oppression or bodily harm) but apparently nowadays this is all rather absurd and politically incorrect or what not. Might as well claim there’s no need for an army or a police-force, after all why would we need it when all people are decent and reasonable and this world some sort of paradise? This is clearly absurd yet it seems to be the general opinion (among guidance-counselors, teachers, psychologists and an increasing number of parents) and official policy in our school-system today. At least in my country, I’m not exactly sure how it goes in the States. Over here children are actually penalized for defending themselves (which is called ‘fighting’: this is absurd in those cases where the child did not initiate the violence but merely reacted to it), in most cases together with the bully but sometimes the bully walks while the victim gets detention or worse.

  3. Zara Says:

    To me it’s quite simple really: as long as people keep their hands to themselves (touching another human-being without permission is the ultimate boundary, much like crossing another country’s boundary this automatically means war) and display a minimum of respect they should be dealt with in a polite and civilized manner, even if they’re obnoxious or ignorant, but when they threaten your safety, property or well-being the gloves come off and it’s time for some serious ass-kicking. Violence in itself is morally neutral: it all depends on how it is used, by whom and in what circumstances. Violence used appropriately (in relation to the threat) and for a just cause (self-preservation, the preservation of others, certain values or freedom) is actually morally good and should not only be condoned but applauded. If the allies didn’t have the balls to stand up to Hitler and defeated him at such a high cost (lives lost, endless suffering, a continent in ruins) my country and many others would still be under nazi-occupation and for that I’ll always be grateful to all those (Americans, English, Canadians and Russians) who risked their lives and limbs (many indeed lost them) to free my people and to destroy evil, an evil which the world had never seen before and hopefully will never see again. This reminds me of an old samurai-saying: ‘the sword that cuts down evil is the sword that gives life’. Truly this is an adage to live by and it should be put on the wall of every decent dojo: the purpose of the MA is not self-glorification or pride but developing and nurturing the ability to ward off evil (both small and great) and to protect oneself (in body and mind), ones values and others against evil and senseless violence.

    It’s good to see martial-knowledge put to good use like that, although I do question the quality of this particular course (and many others like it): kicking with the hands low is not such a bright idea (it maybe allowed in the first stages of training but still it’s breeding bad habits) and practicing punch-defenses against punches that will never connect is not what I would call effective training. Don’t get me wrong: teaching these young girls is a great idea and John’s right in that only a few moves are pretty much all you’ll ever need but nonetheless these moves should be taught and practiced properly and under qualified supervision. If self-defense techniques are taught improperly they will be inefficient and this (together with the unwarranted belief in non-existent abilities) could actually land you in a worse position than before. In self-defense it’s quite simple: either you demolish or incapacitate him (taking away his ability or will to fight) or you create enough of a distraction so that you can escape safely (not always a possibility unfortunately). If you fail to do either of those two things and your defense was ineffective chances are he’ll get mad and use more violence that he originally intended or (even worse) produce a weapon which may very well cost you your life. ‘Bad strategy is the cause of a lot of grief” (Musashi) and a lot of instructors these days jump on the bandwagon of women’s self-defense (easy money) without being qualified and teaching techniques or strategies that are either a bad idea to begin with or only become effective after a relatively long period of practice (months or even years). The second class was far better but then again these children were obviously regular karate-students with probably years of training behind their belts. Joining a good MA-school is always better than a quick self-defense course although I do recognize this is not for everybody and certainly better than doing nothing.

  4. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Thanks the Traveller001. I try to focus on the positive aspects of martial arts training. These kids are trying in a difficult environment.
    Thanks Zara for you insights about bullying. I agree that good training is important as well as supporting the kids.

  5. Ninja Costume Says:

    I agree with your statement that self defense is great for the smaller or weaker. One downfall of the martial arts teaching self defense is that they don’t work on going for the groin, or eyes. They tend to do ‘nice’

  6. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hi Ninja Costume, Yep there are some constraints to consider such as accidentally hurting your sparring partner. That why using martial arts dummies and punching bags are also important.

  7. Self Defence London Says:

    Defending yourself doesn’t you have to fight back. Sometimes you have just to run away. Self defence could be only applied your life is really on danger. It is really nice that girls are being teach by self defence. I hope they will not come back to those who bullied them.
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