December 10, 2013
Women training in IKI Krav Maga, Costa Rica
Women Violence Awareness
I just read an article from Israel about the year-end report on violence against women; 15 women murdered this year by their significant other, 10% increase in calls to hotlines, etc. etc.
This is not nothing new to me. Back when I was teaching Krav Maga in the Israeli high school system I would bring newspaper clippings and statistics making the very same point; every seven hours, on average, a rape is reported in Israel, 1 of every 4 women who attend an American college will report a rape before graduating, etc. etc. The result? Nothing, nada, the girls did not pay attention, they did not feel like participating in my Krav Maga class, they preferred to treat this as a free period as it was not being taught by their regular teacher and they would not be tested or graded on the material. They showed total disrespect for the class. As a result, I did not continue teaching in this program.
So, I read in this morning’s report that an “International violence against women’s” day, or something, will be declared. There will be a march to “raise awareness” etc, etc, etc, and I wonder.
I wonder what is the point of all this “Awareness”. All over the place you will see martial arts instructors advertising self-defense classes for women, and yet, even when these classes are offered free to the public, there are few takers. My friend/teacher/mentor, Arthur Cohen, wrote a book “A Woman’s Guide to Self Defense”, but do women buy it? Hardly, instead they buy trashy romance novels or diet books. The violence continues, and I wonder.
There is enough awareness, it is in the papers daily. All you have to do is open the papers or glance at the internet. What we need is for women themselves to take action. What is the point of being aware of something if you do nothing about it? Yet when I suggest to women to take Krav Maga lessons I usually encounter responses like “I am not into that sort of activity, it is not for me.”
Well you know what? It is for you; it is for everyone. Just as going to the doctor is for everyone, and fitness, exercise and proper diet is for everyone, so too some basic self defense skills and training is for everyone, everyone who does not want to become a statistic that is.
One does not need to become a black belt or spend five years training in martial arts. With a system like Krav Maga one can learn some very valuable self defense and survival skills in a short amount of time. No matter how long you train there will never be any guarantees, one can never predict what will happen in a real-life encounter. However, you can certainly improve your chances drastically by investing some time in learning practical self defense.
When approaching this topic please be aware that not all martial arts are focused on short term reality self defense training. Invest your time before choosing a school. In the modern western world most martial arts are really martial sports. They are designed more for sports and competition than for surviving a street or violent home situation. Choose your program carefully.
It is truly tragic to read all these reports, year after year, about violence against women. There is much that must be done about this in the fields of education, law, public hot line services etc., but let us not forget one very important point; each one of us is ultimately responsible for our own survival. So let's do something about it, now.