Updated: Sep 7
My wife likes watching a TV show where a petite 90 pound lady regularly beats up all sorts of big tough guys, everyone from big US Navy SEAL’s to Russian Spetznaz special forces soldiers. The character uses techniques like groin kicks, and flying head scissors (jumping in the air while throwing her legs around a guys head to take them down). And boy can she take a punch! These huge 6+foot, 200+ pound guys hit her with everything they’ve got and she just keeps going then beats them up.
OK back to reality.
While these moves look cool on camera, I have to crush the myth that tv shows and movies portray of women fighting men. Why? Because it's irresponsible. For example, a female client asked me if I could teach her the "flying head scissors" because she saw it in a movie, another lady told me she would just "kick the guy in the nuts" to win (that does not always work on every guy). Women who don’t know any better believe they can beat any man with some slick moves they saw on TV/movies. Not only is that just not true, it can put them in very dangerous positions.
I have been involved in fighting my whole life. First as a victim, then as a student, a competitor, and finally, an instructor, I learned a few things about how a fight with a bigger, stronger guy really goes down.
Here's what I learned:
Size matters! The odds of a petite person knocking out, or out-wrestling a man three times their size is uncommon (and it's nearly impossible if the smaller person never trained to fight). That's why combat-sports all have weight classes.
Men are stronger than women! Sorry ladies but human physiology dictates this rule. Men carry more muscle, have bigger denser bones, and less fat than women. Additionally, they tend to be more involved in weight bearing physical activities, including manual labor, weightlifting, and wrestling around with their buddies in the backyard.
Men are more aggressive! Blame it on testosterone, extra human growth hormone or society, men are physically more aggressive than women.
A groin kick may not end a fight. I repeat, A Groin Kick May Not End A Fight! Why do so many shows demonstrate a woman kicking a man in the groin, and the man collapsing to the floor into the fetal position? It’s just not true! If you’ve trained in any martial art, including kickboxing or wrestling, you know that groin shots are just part of the sport, and yes guys can get use to them. Additionally, if the man is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or just plain adrenaline, that groin kick will not stop him.
Women must understand these truths when fighting a man:
An untrained woman versus an untrained stronger man = the man wins.
A trained weak woman versus a trained strong man = the man still wins.
A trained weak woman versus an untrained strong man = the woman might win.
A trained strong woman versus a trained strong man = the woman might win.
A trained strong woman versus an untrained weaker man = the woman wins.
While this might not seem like great odds ladies, the reality is if you train physically to become the strongest you can be, while simultaneously training tactically to be the most proficient you can be, you can beat most men.
Here are specific solutions for beating a man in a fight:
Men are bigger (there’s not much you can do about that), but you can counteract their size with your endurance. Big guys require a lot more oxygenated blood to carry those big bodies around which means they get tired quicker. Train in activities that tax your muscular endurance, and cardiovascular endurance systems (i.e. running, swimming, wrestling, kickboxing etc.). This way you can finish the fight they started.
Men are stronger so you will need speed to counteract this. Speed training will make it harder for the big man to hit you, and grab a hold of you. Also, when a bigger person fights a faster person, it taxes the bigger persons body, leading to their early fatigue, and fatigue equals weakness. Train in activities that make you faster (i.e., sprinting, boxing etc.).
Women can get as strong, and even stronger than men. I've met women powerlifters who can easily lift twice as much as I can. That coupled with speed will make you hard to beat. Train in activities that build up your strength/power (i.e. strongman training, Judo, etc.)
Women are tougher and more vicious than men. (if they choose to be). It’s a known scientific fact that women can endure more pain then men, and can tap into physiological resources that men just cannot. Example: When a woman’s child is being injured she will do anything from picking up a car to beating a mountain lion away. Now that’s tough! And viciousness? just look at two untrained women fight, they will pull hair, bite, and tear into each other’s skin. A guy wouldn't do those things to another guy in a fight! We are just not as vicious or tough as women are. Train your mindset to be able to fight all out (i.e. mantra's like "I am worthy of defending myself").
Finally, Don’t just train for sport! While I firmly believe all women should train in martial arts, and combat sports, that should just be your first step. To beat the bigger, stronger, or experienced man, you will need to train other tactics as well from Krav Maga, and/or Close Combat martial arts.
Seek out a trained professional who knows how to fight bigger, stronger persons. Note: A big strong instructor cannot help you because he doesn't understand the challenges that smaller weaker persons have to deal when defending themselves against bigger, stronger persons.
So there you have it, a few strategies that will work for defending yourself against a man. Please don’t believe the nonsense techniques you see on TV or movies, they can get you killed! That being said, a woman can certainly beat a man in a fight if she has the correct training.
If you are a woman who wants to learn how to beat the bigger, or stronger assailant, contact me for a free self-defense seminar (in-person or online).
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Until next time, Stay Safe!
Author, The Short Fight