You don’t need to be physically strong to be a fighter. Every living being has the innate ability to defend itself, even if one has no training or fighting experience at all. Our survival instinct is built into our DNA. Self-defence starts as a mindset, the physical aspect comes second.
Women empowerment doesn’t derive from physical strength but a psychological decision. Women don’t need a male rescuer to save them – they are perfectly capable of saving themselves. The problem is that socialisation from early childhood tells young girls to be “a good girl” and not cause any trouble for anyone. Girls are taught that they have to be nice, to smile through awkward situations, to pretend it is all good, even when it is not, rather than risking the embarrassment of someone else. Self-defence is about consciously making the decision that your safety and self-respect are more important than anything or anyone else.
The sad truth, which is revealed in statistics, is that one in three women has experienced some sort of physical, or sexual violence in her life. A much lesser-known fact is that actively fighting back increases the chances to get away from an attacker by 80 percent.
The very willingness to defend themselves makes one a much less appealing target, as most attackers are cowards who want it easy and don’t expect a woman to fight back. Choosing to defend yourself subconsciously signals that you are not someone to be messed with. It is your life, and you have the power to protect that life.
I love teaching self-defence and martial arts to other women. It is incredibly rewarding to witness my students become stronger and more self-confident over time. Even after a small, three-hour workshop, most girls will leave the room more assured, with a proud body posture that makes them appear 10 centimetres taller than when they arrived. The big finale of my workshops is that the girls break a piece of wood with their bare hands. And except for one girl in hundreds that I trained over many years, they all succeed.