View Full Version : Teaching Self-Defence to the Ladies..

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09-13-2004, 05:21 AM
Hello all,

I am posting this under "Teaching" because that's what it's about. However, I am not an aikido teacher/sensei. I won't bother rankifying myself :p , so I'll leave it at that.

I'm involved with organizing Ladyfest here in Dublin (it's a diy ethic weekend festival of women in music, women hosting workshops, and more), and I've signed myself to host a 45min/1hr workshop called something like "Protective Awareness : An Introduction to Self-Defence Aikido" . This isn't decided.

What really isn't decided is if it's kosher of me to use the name Aikido.

I don't plan on solving anyone's problems : it's more an opportunity for me to make Aikido an option - something people can follow up on. I plan on approaching the female instructor at my club next week, and asking her opinion on the whole sheebang, and whether the club would be alright with me making their literature available.

SO, from all you teachers out there... what do you think of a short (1hr) introduction to Aikido Self-Defence? Can it be done??

Many thanks.

09-13-2004, 06:12 AM
We've tried this in the past at our dojo, with limited success. In my opinion, IF your objective is to teach anyone something they can take away and use in a self-defense situation, NO martial art can do that. Whatever the system, if will only be effective when the techniques are internalized to the subconcious level. That takes time. If you want to talk with them about HOW aikido can help you do that, and perhaps discuss awareness strategies, then that is all cognitive and they can take that away and think on it.

Nothing good comes without effort. Same with self-defense. Takes time and study. Best you can teach people in a short amount of time is how to avoid getting into stupid/bad situations.

09-13-2004, 06:16 AM
Aikido is one of the worst options if you want to teach self-defense in a short period of time.
Check out Krav Maga videos, they're much more to the point, and the basic technique can be learned literally in a couple of sessions.
They start from natural flinch responses and build from there, its very common-sense, very simple, and very smart at the same time.

Trying to cram Aikido as self-defense into a short session will frustrate your audience, and there's no point to doing that except to show off your Aikido skills, while your target audience will learn practically nothing they can immediately use.

09-13-2004, 07:37 AM

There are skills readily available within aikido that will serve admirably in self-defense situations.

However, "Aikido" itself is not a good option for self defense. The applicable skills the art offers can be found in almost any good budo, but seldom are plainly evident.

I'd seperate aikido from self defense, myself.


09-13-2004, 07:57 AM
Thanks for the ideas. :)

I have thought about aikido tactics and techniques not being as "effective" strategies as other "defence" tactics, such as Krav Maga. However, the workshop is aimed to be mostly a cognitive exercise.

I thought to discuss topics such as fear and motivation - maybe help us (women) come to terms with the reality of what may happen in attack situations. It's fairly lengthy and varied, the possibilities!

As far as the physical exercises, I did think about doing a ushiro ryou kata dori exercise at the end of the hour, just so we could experience what it's like to be able to practice threatning situations/attacks in a safe environment - and give an idea what goes on during a typical night at the dojo!

The idea of "Protective Awareness : An Introduction to Self-Defence Aikido" was to bring aikido principles into the arena.

At women's festival/workshop/music weekends and the like, there is often a time dedicated to "self-defence". I thought it might be nice to let ladies know there are more options available in the world than Krav Maga style defence (which is guided by tactics such as eye-gouging and groin kicking). Not that I am presuming to judge the effectiveness of such tactics - but I do feel that they may only help to escalate women's fear of being attacked.

Maybe it isn't a good idea to do a few trial aikido exercises?

09-13-2004, 10:53 AM
I wouold simply call it a participatory aikido demonstration, with the understanding that extended practice could aid in self-defense.

09-13-2004, 11:41 AM
I think Aikido could be a very effective self-defense option, but don't practice the techniques. Instead, look at the principles and basic assumptions of the art.

If you could show people how to be centered and calm though exercises, this would give them a good starting point. Additional exercises in awareness and trusting your instinctive (gut) feelings could also be done. The idea is not letting them get into a conflict, but avoiding the situation altogether.

Exercises in timing and distance (ma-ai) could also be done to make the participant more aware of situations. You might be able to show them simple examples of entering (irimi) and turning (tenkan). to show them options to struggling.

If you could devise non-throwing exercises done individually and working in pairs, it would help the participants in deepening their awareness. The idea being to get them involved both physically and mentally.

Good luck on your demo.

09-13-2004, 11:50 AM
SO, from all you teachers out there... what do you think of a short (1hr) introduction to Aikido Self-Defence? Can it be done??


how about this title

"Protective Awareness : An Introduction to Self-Defence AND Aikido" .

Then spend 30-45 minutes teaching about the role of awareness as an important first step in self-defense. You will need to prepare for this properly and do some research - their are many good texts out there. I am sure you can talk to some people for help. Be sure to emphasize that this one hour is not enough and can do nothing more than make one aware of issues of personal safety and some approaches to help with self-defense.

then you could have about 15 minutes for a short Aikido demo as just an example of one thing that could help but not solve by itself self-defense issues - emphasizing how much fun it is too train and how a positive side effect is to help train you in principles that will help improve awareness, make one a less-likely target etc.
I would emphasize the fun aspect as to suggesting it's a positive life long study that can help with self-defense concerns because consistent routine practice will make you more prepared than some one-time quickie course.

that's about the best you could do.
There is a connection between Self-defence and Aikido, just don't get into the nonsense of equating the two like some martial arts do.

09-13-2004, 12:15 PM
So much of Aikido is learning to blend. Learning to "unlearn" so much of what seems natural. If you consider this very simple illustration....

When one is grabbed and pulled.....the human reaction is to try and pull away. Think of how long it took to unlearn the "pull away :-)" technique.

So, Aikido would not be what I would think should be taught to ladies or gentlemen or kids or pets in a 1 hour class....

Lyle Laizure
09-14-2004, 08:50 PM
I would stick with the "Protective Awareness" aspect. If you want to share Aikido then do it in a demonstration following the "Protective Awareness" portion.

I feel however, Aikido is a very effective self-defense.

I also feel that no matter the style or techniques that may be taught, an hour long to teach self-defense is rediculous. To do so is careless and in my opinion criminal. That being said I am not opposed to offering an hour long class to introduce self-defense under strict expression that those in attendence should not feel that they are prepared to deal with an encounter because they have attended an hour long class. It should be stressed that self-defense is an endeavor that takes countless hours of preparation, both physical and even more so mental.

09-14-2004, 11:20 PM
If you are insistent that Aikido be a part of the self defense course, maybe refer to it as Protective Awareness, and say that it is based in part on Aikido principles. I have done some work with the Girl Scouts for their self defense merit badges. I did not teach them Aikido, but did a system based on the escapes and some simple, effective techniques that are used in Aikido. I also didn't cram it all into a one hour course. This could give a false sense of security and do more harm than good. Refer to this hour as a demonstration and encourage participation.

Jeanne Shepard
09-14-2004, 11:30 PM
I do regular workshops for Girl Scouts too, and I make it clear to the parents and leaders present that, if they want their kids to learn self defense, they should invest in self defense for kids programs. The point of our workshops is to provide an intor to what Aikido is, and how it is different from other martial arts.

Jeanne :p

<www.tantobeak.com >

09-15-2004, 03:15 AM
an hour long to teach self-defense is rediculous. To do so is careless and in my opinion criminal.


Alright, I'll revise my statement concerning what I'm doing - (I don't know if you meant to imply that I am acting carelessly, or criminally!)

I am hosting a workshop - this is not a course. This consists of one hour, on one day. It is a discussion-based forum. I want to introduce the concept of "awareness" as self-defence. This is motivated by my experiences with Aikido, and based on things I have taken from training and philosophy.

I do not intend to do an Aikido demo.

This will be a women-only workshop. Why? Because generally when you say self-defence to a woman it carries the connotation of "rape prevention". Who does the most raping? Our aquiantances. Are any of us likely to break out the krav maga in an aquaintance or date rape situation? Probably not. This is where awareness, openess, and calm clarity (based for me in Aikido training) come in handy-dandy.

So thanks, for helping me organize my thoughts! :D

09-15-2004, 08:50 AM
IMHO, start with threat awareness and assement followed by escape and evasion. Show simple basic moves so people know its possible. End with run-away, report, and deprocess.

Lyle Laizure
09-17-2004, 02:21 PM
Tamarack, I must apologize. I did not mean to imply your actions were careless or criminal.

My comments were meant in a general sense, in that if somone offers self-defense in a one hour class they need to express to those attending that just because they are attending the class it does not mean that they are prepared to take on an attacker.

09-18-2004, 04:15 AM
Separate the self-defense from the Aikido. You don't want people to confuse the two, and you certainly don't want people expecting one thing and getting another. Just stick to calling it 'An Introduction to Protective Awareness.' That title is specific....and leaves out all the baggage that could come with the words self-defense and Aikido.

I point all this out because I was asked to something similar at a Ladyfest-esqe event in University. I wanted to do some takedown defenses, basic throws, and a few boxing drills from praying mantis. Just some fun, basic things that would allow women to get physical and also be simple enough to practice on their own. However, when the flyer was printed, they had apparently decided to call my short class 'Taichi for Self-Defense.' Well, when the day arrived, I had an interesting mix of paranoid RBSD types and Taichi flower children. They left disappointed: no eye gouges, no visions of Krishna.