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