Women’s Self Defense!
Women’s Self Defense Classes
GROWING numbers of women around the country are learning how to kick and punch their way out of the grip of violent crime, enrolling in self-defense classes in record numbers.
But finding the right class can be baffling. Gyms, women’s centers, martial-arts organizations, Y’s and some corporations offer classes in self-defense, but are they all equally effective? Experts say no.
Most martial arts courses do not really prepare women to protect themselves on the streets, some people who teach these courses admit. The techniques of tae kwon do and karate, for example, take years to learn and are too “choreographed,” some experts say. As such, they are not effective ways for the average person to quickly master techniques for self-protection.
Self-defense classes, on the other hand, teach women to free themselves from the grip of an attacker by using their teeth, palms, elbows and legs to bite, strike, punch and kick themselves free.
The Center for Anti-Violence Education, a self-defense school for women and children in Park Slope, Brooklyn, teaches not only the physical means of warding off an attack, but also what it calls empowerment — how to be alert to danger, how to carry oneself on the street and how to scream effectively.
Learning to fight off an attacker by practicing against well-padded male “assailants” in simulated muggings is the approach taken by the Model Mugging classes, now taught in 24 locations nationwide, including Manhattan and Westchester County. These classes were developed 20 years ago in California by Matt Thomas, a martial arts expert who was upset when a friend who had achieved black belt status was unable to protect herself from a brutal attack.
Here are some tips offered by experts for choosing a self-defense class:
* Ask to participate in or, at least, watch a class, before you sign up for a course. “If you think it’s too complicated, it is,” said Lisa Sliwa, international coordinator of the Guardian Angels, a street patrol group in New York.
* Choose a class that teaches the basics in just a few weeks.
* Talk to people who have taken the class and ask their opinions.
* Make sure the class environment is warm and supportive. Taking a self-defense class, which can include a lot of kicking and screaming, can be disturbing, especially for people who have been victims of violent crimes.
* Ask about prices, which vary considerably and can go up to several hundred dollars. Some schools have a sliding scale, according to the student’s ability to pay.