5 Reasons Why All Women Should Take Self-Defense Classes

5 Reasons Why All Women Should Take Self-Defense Classes

You don't need a gun to be armed.
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During my first semester of college, I decided to join a Krav Maga club in an effort to learn self-defense. In case you were wondering (and I know you were), Krav Maga is a form of Israeli hand-to-hand combat. It combines techniques from martial arts with realistic street fighting, and it is especially useful for women in that it uses techniques that can help smaller fighters overcome much larger opponents. It's quite fun, actually. And ever since I threw my first punch, I've been hooked (pun intended).

I firmly believe that all women should learn self-defense at some point in their lives. I'm not saying you have to be like me and do Israeli hand-to-hand combat twice a week (although I highly recommend it), but even taking the time to learn the basics of defending yourself (and fighting back) could end up saving your life one day.

1. You don't feel completely helpless anymore.

You're walking back to your dorm from the library, and because it's the middle of winter, it's pitch black outside at only 7:30 p.m.. You've gotten to a part of campus where there aren't may people walking around, but suddenly you hear footsteps behind you, and they're catching up quickly. Sure, it could just be another student in a hurry to get to a meeting -- but what if it's not. I know that because I'm a girl, my mind instantly jumps to the possibility that the footsteps behind me could be a man twice my size who wants to harm me. Whether this is true or not, I would much rather be running through different defense scenarios in my head instead of wishing I had gotten my guy friend to walk with me. Because I know that I can fight back, I no longer feel like a damsel in distress.

2. You're more confident.

Who needs drugs when you can simply enjoy the natural high of punching someone in the face? Not only do you get endorphins from the work you put in while training, but you also feel much better after releasing your inner warrior. Nothing compares to the feeling of going up against a guy three times your size (with biceps twice the size of your head) and being able to hold your own. After an hour of practicing punches, kicks, and blocks, you feel accomplished, powerful, and strong. You can let out all your energy, stress, and anger in an environment that embraces it and funnel those bad feelings into something useful -- developing the ability to defend yourself.

3. You shouldn't let boys have all the fun.

Guys can be very protective -- they want to keep their ladies safe from all harm, and that's really cool! But if your knight in shining armor isn't around when you need him to protect you, you're out of luck unless you know how to take care of yourself. And anyway, why do boys get to have all the fun fighting baddies and taking names while we hide and pray they make it out alive? And if there are multiple attackers, your honey probably wouldn't complain about having a girlfriend with a mean right hook. Besides, if it came down to it, I'd want a man who would fight beside me rather than for me. #PowerCouple, anyone?

4. You can get really, really ridiculously fit.

OK, maybe not that fit. Ronda puts in more work in a day than I will in my entire life. But that doesn't mean casually kicking butt isn't great exercise. Instead of doing 100 crunches, then 50 pushups, then a one minute plank, etc. for hours on end, wouldn't you rather be pretending you're Rowdy Rousey (or Taylor Swift in her "Bad Blood" video) for an hour or two a week? Thanks to Krav, my arms are more toned, my abs are tighter, and my glutes look better than they have in my entire life -- and they really shouldn't, considering how much I eat after practice. So if you're, not doing it to protect yourself, your friends, and your family, at least do it for an exciting workout.

5. You can finally be the strong female heroine you've always wanted to be.

If at any point in time you looked at any one of the above images and thought, "Wow I wish that was me," it can be you. Just because you're not a character in an action movie, it doesn't mean you can't be that strong female heroine you've always wanted to be. That's the beauty of real life -- you get to write your own script as you go. You get to decide whether you want to be a damsel in distress or a hero. And if you have the chance to learn how to defend yourself or your friends, wouldn't you want to take that chance? You shouldn't leave all the hero work for men -- if you want to be safe, you have to protect yourself.

Oh, and if you think that learning how to punch will make you less girly and adorable, allow me to change your mind:

(AWWWWW)

So get out there and learn to fight, ladies. Those groins won't kick themselves.

Cover Image Credit: onionstatic.com

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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The First Time My Mistakes No Longer Controlled My Life

Mistakes suck, and though I've conquered a few, I'm still learning.

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The whistle blows as the team cheers on.

My heart pounds as if it will burst out of my chest at any given moment and I taste the salty sweat trickling down my face. I must serve over the net, I must get it in, I must ace my opponent or I will fail. Fear.

In his first inaugural speech, President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously stated, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Such a statement proves powerful to the matured minds of society; however, in the minds of some adolescents, this declaration appears somewhat foolish, as numerous "threats" ignite fear, thus causing teens to grow anxious.

A major cause for fear in the rising generation takes form in failure. In the eyes of these people, making a simple mistake paves the way towards absolute failure; therefore, perfectionists constantly walk on eggshells attempting to do the impossible: avoid human error. This mentality gives way to constant stress and overall disappointment, as perfection does not apply to human beings. If one can come to the realization that not one person can attain perfection, they can choose to live life in ease, for they no longer have to apply constant pressure upon themselves to master excellence. The fear of failure will no longer encumber their existence, and they can overcome situations that initially brought great anxiety. I too once put great pressure on myself to maintain perfection, and as a result, felt constantly burdened by my mistakes. However, when I realized the inevitability of those mistakes, it opened the door for great opportunities. The first time I recognized that failure serves as a tool for growth allowed me to no longer fear my mistakes, and instead utilize them for my own personal growth.

The whistle blows as the team cheers on. My heart pounds as if it will burst out of my chest at any given moment, and I taste the salty sweat trickling down my face. I must serve over the net, I must get it in, I must ace my opponent. As hard as I try, I fail; as the ball flies straight into the net and thuds obnoxiously onto the gym floor, so does my confidence. I feel utter defeat, as I know my fate. My eyes water as my coach immediately pulls me from the game, sits me on the bench, and tells me to "get my head into the game" instead of dwindling on past errors. From then on I rarely step foot on the court, and instead, ride the bench for the remainder of the season. I feel defeated. However, life does not end, and much to my surprise, this mistake does not cause failure in every aspect of my life. Over time, I gradually realize that life does not end just because of failure. Instead, mistakes and failure pave the way toward emotional development and allows one to build character. In recognizing that simple slip-ups do not lead to utter failure, I gain perspective: one's single mistake does not cause their final downfall. Thus, this epiphany allowed for my mental growth and led me to overcome once challenging obstacles.

Instead of viewing mistakes as burdens, one should utilize them as motivation for future endeavors. The lesson proves simple: all can learn from their mistakes. However, it is a matter of choosing to learn from these mistakes that decide one's future growth. Instead of pushing faults away, I now acknowledge them in order to progress. Before coming to such a realization, I constantly "played it safe" in sports, fearing that giving my best effort would lead to greater error. I did not try, and as a result, I rarely failed.

Although such a mentality brought forth limited loss in terms of overall team success, it also brought forth limited, individual success. Today, fear of failure no longer controls life on the court. I use my mistakes as motivation to get better; instead of dwindling on an error made five minutes prior, I focus on the form needed to correct it. As a result, skills will constantly improve, instead of regress. Thus, errors serve as blessings, as it is through these errors in which one can possess the motivation to better themselves.

For some, fear acts as an ever-present force that controls every aspect of life. In particular, the fear of failure encumbers perfectionists, as the mere thought of failing causes great anxieties. In the past, I have fell victim to the fear of committing a mistake, and as a result, could not go through life without feeling an overwhelming sense of defeat. However, in a moment of what appeared to be a great failure, I finally recognized that life does not end due to one mistake, let alone one million. Instead, mistakes pave the way toward personal development and provide essential motivation to succeed in everyday life. Without mistakes, it proves difficult to grow in character. One must first learn to accept their faults before they can appreciate their best qualities. Thus, the fear of failure inhibits the growth of an individual; therefore, all must come to the realization that essentialness of mistakes, as they allow for the further development of overall character.

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