I Will Defend Myself: The Importance of Learning Self-Defense as a Woman
By Emily Ball ’22
If you ask any woman if she feels comfortable walking alone at night, the chances are high that she will say no, that she is not comfortable. Most women carry pepper spray, a whistle, or various other self-defense tools with them in case they find themselves in danger. The thought of who could be lurking in the dark, even when there may be nobody there, is a constant concern in the minds of women. This is the reality of our society, and all we can do individually is to work within the confines of that reality by doing things like taking self-defense classes.
Before attending college, I signed up for a self-defense class through my town that taught young women defensive moves and things to say when somebody tries to attack you. I stood there practicing the punches and kicks that the police officers were teaching us, thinking how ridiculous this is that, as a woman, I feel like I have to do this in order to feel more prepared for college. But, this is a necessary precaution that all women, no matter what age, ought to take.
Although it really does feel like eliminating the naivety of young women, young adults should be made aware of techniques and strategies that can protect them from potential harm. It is better to be aware than to be naïve, especially as a woman in the 21st century. Self-defense strategies are important to know, especially as a young woman.
Abigail Pruchnicki ’22 said on the matter, “I was invited to a sleepover with my soccer team. We were about 12 at the time and the girl-who-hosted’s mom had her self-defense instructor come in and give us a lesson. I didn’t understand it fully at the time but since I have found out that the mother was a model and was sexually assaulted in an elevator, I now appreciate her efforts in preparing us young girls to protect ourselves and be aware of danger.”
It’s all about prevention—preventing these situations from happening. By preparing physically, young women are also preparing mentally to be aware of their surroundings.
“It’s obviously disheartening that at 12 years old we had to learn that we might be seen as objects that others could take advantage of. Also, we learned that as girls and, soon, women, we had to always have a sense of alertness and awareness when we entered the social world,” Pruchnicki said.
Women don’t have to sign up for an actual self-defense class to learn these strategies and techniques, as there are plenty of other alternative options available. YouTube offers free videos that demonstrate simple moves through basic classes. Also, some fitness studios that offer kickboxing classes also offer self-defense moves and strategies to their athletes.
“Kickboxing is not only a great workout but also incorporates defensive moves into the combinations. A few of my favorites besides the usual jab and cross is the bob and weave, perry, and shield, which are all great moves to know as a girl. I think it is great that I can work out but also learn ways to defend myself if I ever need to,” Julia Wilson ’22 said.
No matter how you choose to do it, all women should learn self-defense moves in order to learn how to protect themselves.