Sunday, October 11, 2015

Women and Self-Defense - Things You Need to Know!

Training in self-defense at the Arizona Hombu dojo - Suzette defends against an attack with tonfa (side-handle batons),
 defending against sansetsukon (3-sectional staff) attack by Lexi at the Arizona Hombu dojo in the East Valley of Phoenix
Some people have no respect for others, their property, or their lives and we need to prepare ourselves for a time when we run into one of these thugs. I'm not as concerned about personal property - and I would probably turn the other cheek in cases related to mental assault, but when it comes to physical assault on a child, woman, senior citizen, or myself, I look forward to turning the cheeks of these people. If nothing else, maybe they will find a better path. But it is my prayer that it doesn't come to that, even though it has happened in the past.

In traditional martial arts, there is never an end to learning. It is amazing how much there is to learn - so much that one cannot learn it all in one lifetime. There is still a lot more to learn - including martial arts history, different kobudo and samurai weapons, many forms (kata), Okinawan language, philosophy, better physical fitness, meeting more people in the martial arts etc. In our martial art, we have many PhDs and nearly everyone is a college graduate and many work as engineers, doctors, lawyers, scientists, accountants, school teachers, soldiers, pilots, physical therapists, nutritionists, personal trainers, computer techs, etc. Why so many highly educated people in our traditional martial arts school? It's because we all realize how much there is to learn. And our school has a positive environment that is favorable to learning. And the world head of this martial art was a kyoju no budo (professor of martial arts) at four universities over the past 50 years.

Our classes as entertaining and the focus is on techniques that work for almost anyone - simple things like defending with elbows, knees, the palm-heel of the hand, car keys, a fork, spoon, pepper shaker, rock, magazine, pen, etc.

To be able to defend yourself, you should learn good and practical self-defense, learn it well, and practice it every week for the rest of your life. Unfortunately, people think they can just take a course at a college or local martial arts school and then they are ready to defend themselves. Before you start in a self-defense curriculum, first find out a little about the instructor and school - there are a lot of fly by nights out there and you have to be cautious - so just do a quick internet search on the school name and the instructor. Next, you need a new affirmation. Your affirmation is going to need to include training (exercising) for the rest of your life - not just one semester or one class. This is a lifetime commitment that will keep you healthy - just like going to the gym only better - you are not only burning a lot of calories, but you are also learning how to defend yourself!

To be successful in self-defense, it must be second nature. There are lots of crazies out there - not just politicians, but you know the other types - they are everywhere - Congress, drug addicts, etc. Here are a couple of things to think about before beginning a self-defense program:

(1) To be successful in self-defense, a person must practice constantly to build muscle memory so they will not have to think about how to defend during a stressful situation or attack - it is important to learn to react! This is known as mushin. To build mushin, sign up for for "Traditional" Karate Classes and practice often. Once a week is enough, but 2 or 3 times a week is better. And this also means you need to make a lifelong commitment to self-defense training.

This is not as bad as you might think! Actually, its great! It is a great exercise program and stress reliever. So, you will no longer have to go to a gym - you can burn more calories in karate and self-defense classes and make new friends. The nice thing about 'traditional' karate as opposed to other forms of martial arts is that the Okinawan martial artists who developed the art focused on kata and bunkai. Kata are living encyclopedia of self-defense techniques - it is like dancing or shadow boxing, so you can practice most of the time on your own if you are so inclined. Our instructor told us a story about when he was working in the outback of Alaska nearly 30 years ago, searching for gold. Wearing mosquito netting from head to toe, he practiced karate every other day, just like he has for nearly 60 years. So, it can be done. The bunkai are the self-defense techniques that make up the kata. So practice kata in your home and at the dojo and you will also be learning self-defense.

(2) 'Traditional' Karate is considered to be a self-defense weapon rather than sport, so your goal of being able to defend yourself will be better served in traditional, rather than sport karate. If you watched the original Karate Kid (1984) movie, you'll remember the difference between Sport Karate (the nasty Corbra Kai group) and traditional karate (the Miyagi-Ryu Karate Kid).  Another significant difference mentioned in passing in the movie is that sport karate is about winning trophies; whereas, traditional karate is about self-defense and self-improvement. One of the great Okinawan martial artists - Gichin Funakoshi - made the following statement about traditional karate, "The purpose of karate lies not in victory or defeat, but in the perfection of its participants". Now that sums it up nicely. But if you are really competitive, then you will probably benefit more from sport karate, but at the same time, you will be giving up some of the self-defense benefits.

After teaching self-defense clinics for more than 30
years at the University of Wyoming, author and
 Shorin-Ryu karate instructor, Soke Hausel
indicates clinics are great for entertainment
and provide information to assist women and
men in general self-defense. But to be really prepared,
people need to consider weekly karate and
self-defense classes. And forget about aerobic kick
boxing classes: they provide little self-defense value.
 Kicking the air or a
punching bag does not teach a person how to react to
an attack or block attacks.
(3) There are free, one night, self-defense clinics offered by local police departments. Some are good in that they help you become aware of your surroundings. BUT they will not prepare you for self-defense! The reason is simple. These clinics do not teach muscle memory.

You must learn to react to movement without thinking using full force and devastating focus we martial artists call ki. The reason for this is simple. During an attack, you will be under stress unless you are well prepared. If you do not react to movement but instead try to judge which hand or foot a person is going to attack with, you will be in a lot of trouble. Imagine a thug is harassing you and you have to defend yourself. You stop and think "I'll block his RIGHT punch with my left hand and then kick". Then you discover he is left handed! If you were properly trained to react to movement, you would not be lying on the ground on your back with a broken jaw. 

(4) Schedule a weekly night out at a dojo (karate school) with your best friend, husband, father, boy friend, girl friend, mother, or even grandmother or grandfather. It will bring you closer together and give you both something to do each week and talk about. And when you search for a dojo, look for a school that offers 'Adult' Classes. This is important, otherwise you may end up like one of our lady black belts who trained at a taekwondo school. Sensei Paula attended taekwondo and she was the only adult in the class. Training to defend yourself against 3 to 5 year old boys and girls was not realistic, and its even more embarrassing when you are old enough to be the mother of the pimple-faced instructor. At the end of each class, Sensei Paula, now a Hall-of-Fame Shorin-Ryu Karate instructor told us she had to stand in line with all of the little kids to site the dojo philosophy. Now get this - the dojo philosophy was "I will obey my mommy and my daddy". Very hard to swallow, especially for someone like Paula, who was born in Japan. Also, most karate schools close within two years. So, if your instructor hasn't been around very long, chances are real good he will take your contract money and run.
Weekly traditional karate and kobudo classes at the Arizona Hombu dojo in
Mesa Arizona provide adults (and families) with muscle memory through
kata (forms) practice. Students are
taught how to break down kata so every single movement in
 becomes a self-defense application known to Okinawan
practitioners as bunkai. When properly taught,
"these kata become living encyclopedia of self-defense applications."
If you are taking karate or taekwondo, and you do not understand what each
move in every kata is for, you may be in the wrong martial arts school. Nearly
all traditional Okinawan karate schools focus on the bunkai or self-defense

(5) Not all instructors are certified. In fact, many are not. So, do some quick background checks on the instructor and school you are considering. It is very easy to do a quick BING search, or Yahoo Search, or GOOGLE search for information on the instructor, the martial arts school, the martial arts association - you could find out that you are about to sign up for self-defense classes with a person under investigation for sexual harassment or a person with many complaints on aggression. Even more scary, you may find out that the person has a history of politics - Egad!

If you do not learn self-defense, you may want to learn how to  use a gun, pepper spray, etc. But remember, you can not always get to these; whereas your hands and feet are always with you. And if you are a school teacher - forget it, they will not let you carry weapons - or will they? If you are trained in traditional karate, you have your feet, elbows, hands and knees - that are attached!
The martial art of kobudo goes hand in hand with traditional Okinawa karate. Kobudo is nothing more than an extension
of karate (empty hand) techniques, but teaches martial artists that there are many weapons available - not only the
traditional Okinawa weapons, but also everyday weapons. A group of librarians
in Chandler Arizona were recently taught how to use books, car keys and even magazines for self-defense weapons.


  1. Top 14 Self Defense Tips Every Woman Should Know

    Ladies need to make self-security a higher priority. The more educated you are, the better set you up will be in the occasion you are focused by a predator. By engaging yourself with information, your fear won’t heighten, it will decrease. Follow these women self defense tips to prevent from becoming a victim.

  2. For more selfdefense techniques plz check martial arts