Lots of men, when they find out I’ve been practicing martial arts and self defense, like to ask me to punch them.
“Come on, punch me as hard as you can.” And they point to their arm.
What th-…really? Who on earth trains to punch someone in the arm? This is usually a misguided attempt to prove that I’m a little girl who is ineffective even with training, and to impress me with what a tough guy they must be.
Here’s the thing, I’ve boxed, I know how to fight with my fists, how to properly wrap my hands and go at a bag for an hour. I also know that for a woman, a punch is not even close to the most effective way to fight.
Men have rules about how to fight with honor. We don’t need to follow those rules because a man attacking us has already been proven to have no such honor, and since he’ll probably be bigger, stronger and faster, we have to be tricky if we want to win.
Sure sure, with a lot of training and a very fit body I can probably disable an opponent with no training even if he’s male. But I’m just saying that even if I have training, there’s no guarantee I’m not going to come up against someone else with the same level of training, who’s taller and stronger and a man. What then?
This brings me to what happens when a man invites me to punch him on the arm. I usually respond with something like, “I don’t think punching is effective. Even so, I could probably really injure you, and it seems like a lose-lose situation for me to try to injure your body while you try to injure my pride. I’ve been in real fights, and I don’t enjoy hurting people. But if you fight me understand that I fight extremely dirty, and with the intent to maim. Not to play.”
And it’s true. I trained in Krav Maga in California. It’s the Israeli Defense system. They train women in a very different way from other martial arts. Instead of partnering with another woman, I was told that women weren’t what I needed to know how to defend myself against. So I was paired with a 300 pound male instructor, and we grappled in awkward and frightening positions. And it gave me more confidence than any amount of other self defense training.
Now ladies, I’m about to get icky and get into some pretty graphic details on what I mean by fighting dirty. If you are easily offended think carefully before going further. However I strongly believe that it is better to face the icky things now, than have ickier things happen to us later because we didn’t consider them. So continue on to part 2 if you want to hear a few examples of dirty techniques.