Saturday, April 20, 2013

Defend yourself: A mix of martial arts and practical self defence

In India, post the now infamous, tragic, Delhi gang rape, the number of women signing up for martial arts based self-defence classes has increased by leaps and bounds, resulting in a mixed response in context with the actual effectiveness of some forms of what is popularly known as "MMA" or Mixed Martial Arts. Understanding the pros and cons of some popularly taught forms of MMA, and juxtaposing them with practical knowledge such as learning how to remain calm during an attack, will allow us to develop an easy-to-master and easy to implement set of personal safety skills which will serve to protect us in case we are attacked.

One of the most popularly-taught forms of self-defence is Krav Maga, which constitutes a blend of mixed martial arts techniques such as boxing, Muay Thai, jiu-jitsu and Wing Chun, is non-competitive in nature and was developed in order to train Israeli Military Forces. Krav Maga is popularly taught, and is said to be effective for women as it is easy to learn and focuses on attacking vulnerable parts of the attacker's body such as the throat, eyes, groin and joints.

Aikido is another method which is popular due to its philosophy of combining self-defence without causing harm to the attacker. The philosophy behind Aikido is that when someone attacks you, they automatically lower their own defences, and that you remain defensively invulnerable if you do not counter-attack them. The technique involves learning how to fall, learning how to throw, and also involves mental and physical conditioning exercises. Its effectiveness is high but it could take time to master.

Jiu-jitsu is said to be one of the more female-friendly forms of self-defence as it allows relatively smaller people to disable larger and heavier attackers by disabling their centre of gravity. The method also involves gouging, kicks, choke holds and joint locks, which, if practised regularly under a trained instructor, would be highly effective during a fight.

Wenlido offers a combination of practical moves such as using specific words [learning to say "NO"] and various other preventative measures which are aimed towards avoiding a physical confrontation; physical confrontation, unlike the other aforementioned methods, is a last resort. Wenlido focuses mostly on mentally training women on how to ward off an attack, and can be mastered within 2 days.

Apart from popular MMA based self-defence techniques, some classes offer a blend of other, lesser-known but equally effective arts such as the Philippines based Escrima, which teach people how to use everyday articles and objects as "weapons", such as newspapers, umbrellas, even mobile phones. Escrima is a technique made popular by the Bourne series of films.

For those who are not interested in investing time and money into developing MMA-based skills, there are a host of other forms of self-defence, which range from wearing a whistle, to carrying cans of pepper spray, to loading handbags and purses with sharp objects to poke an offender with, and in extreme cases, carrying actual weapons. On a practical note however, it is safe to conclude that the most legal and lethal weapon every person can have is their own body strength, which is why learning some basic self-defence techniques, whether MMA-based or not, is not only recommended, but a valuable life skill.

This is a guest article by Glad2bawoman (, an online, media, marketing company which publishes women centric articles. They have an ever growing community of over 75,000 members and publish articles revolving around Health, Empowerment, Relationships, Leisure and Fashion. Visit their site, to know more.

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