Women Fighting Back! Kung Fu & Karate?

Posted by: John W. Zimmer
Under: Self-defense
29 Apr 2008


Many of you may be wondering what is the best style or martial art for self-defense? There are many good martial arts schools that teach adaptive self-defense moves that also teach the traditional martial arts. People often ask me what is the best way to learn self-defense. The short answer is to find something you like for the time commitment you want to make, and then follow through.


Almost any martial art will work in self-defense if one practices but it must be suited for the student. For instance if a woman wanted to learn how to fight in two weeks, I would not suggest a formal Kung Fu or Karate school (unless they also taught self-defense courses), but rather a self-defense course. If a woman wanted to learn an art form as well as some practical self-defense then almost any martial art will be good (Kung Fu, Karate, Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Aikido and so on). Here is a short video of a Kung Fu school with a self-defense offering.


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I enjoyed the scenario with explanation approach of this video. The instructors make some good points by stressing, (1) awareness, (2) boundaries, and (3) combat. One has to be ever vigilant her surroundings to be safe. A woman must establish her boundaries (what she will accept from people and vocally let her boundaries be known). Finally she must be ready to defend herself if need be. This entails some prior training to gain the needed confidence.


I thought some of the fighting moves were fairly advanced (like the knee to the face and kicks to the kidneys) for self-defense but nevertheless, these moves would be effective. As you can see Kung Fu is very effective when used for self-defense. I think that women will generally like the graceful moves that really pack some power when used correctly.


The next video addresses an issue that is glossed over in the popular press. Migrant women that work as domestic employees can be taken advantage by unscroupulous persons that know such workers are not as likely to go to the police! This is a world-wide problem and can segway into sex-slave operations. I was happy to see a video on this subject that is not spoken of enough.


Watching this video may beg the question about using karate as the primary self-defense. Let me assure you that women are and can be proficient using Karate as their self-defense. Just as using Kung Fu, Karate takes a year or two of practice to be an proficient. Why would this be a good approach? Because Karate or Kung Fu have more benefits than just self-defense. Martial Arts are a great form of life-long exercise and relieves stress.


This video opens up with a domestic migrant workers fears. Each concern and attack is addressed wonderfully by the Karate stylists as well as a defensive move demonstration. The video is a little longer but worth viewing.


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After reviewing this video I got the feeling of what women in this situation have to deal with if attacked. Some good points (and there were many) were women should trust their instincts, some creative ways to avoid attacks, and some things to do to create escape opportunities. There were demonstrations of self-defense techniques including my favorites in this video - the pinky grip. The video went on with target zones and what women are likely to deal with if they are attacked sexually. Overall this was a good A to Z overview of women's self-defense concerns and specificially what migrant women might run into some day.


What is better for women to fight back? Karate? Kung Fu? Judo? Self-Defense? It depends on what each woman likes, if she likes the school, and what her time commitment is. There are many non-lethal and lethal self-defense weapons available to women that are great. Check out the store tab for mace, stun-guns and tasers. For me, learning a style has multiple benefits such as exercise, self-defense, fighting (like in a ring), stress reduction (like yoga) but a good self-defense course should be a minimum for most women. Stay safe and trust your instincts.



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4 Responses to “Women Fighting Back! Kung Fu & Karate?”

  1. Wanda Says:

    Thanks for this info. I know this is helpful for a woman like me.

  2. Ken Potter Says:

    Good information.

  3. Matt Klein Says:

    Hi John, hope you are well. Agree with you that any type of martial art can be effective for self-defence, provided you spend a bit of time learning it. I do not believe there is a best style, but I do believe there is a best teacher. Go around and observe classes at various schools and watch how the instructor relates to the students. Go where you sense the best fit for you. You will be happiest there. It doesn’t matter what style.

  4. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hey Matt – I cannot agree more… you make some good points on how to try and find the good fit. It is hard for a beginning student to know what they like but if they visit a few school… they will have an idea of where they feel comfortable and then can give it a try.