Today, many women are choosing martial arts training for various reasons.
Martial arts training for women is proven to provide a host of benefits. Regular and goal-oriented exercise is certainly one of them, but other benefits like effective self-defence techniques, social confidence and lower blood pressure and heart rate, are also important.
So, if there are many reasons women get into martial arts training, where should you start?
In this post, we walk through the key elements of women’s martial arts training. We try to answer your questions on women’s martial arts, women’s martial and self-defence, and most importantly the best martial arts for women’s self defence.
Best Martial Arts for Women’s Self Defence
If you’re considering a martial arts program, begin by considering your goals. Once you’ve considered your reasons for getting into martial arts you can decide what style and program to initiate.
One big reason to train in martial arts is self-defence.
Like any emergency preparedness, self-defence is something you’ll never need until you do.
When you do need it you’ll be happy you have it. But what is the best self-defence program? Here are a few Martial Arts with specific pros and cons regarding self-defence.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) is the art of submission. That is the art of choking out, tapping out or physically neutralising an opponent. This martial art focuses on grappling, that is on the ground fighting against an opponent.
- Submission expertize–BJJ teaches practitioners to dominate and neutralise opponents through the use of different chokes and holds
- Technique over weight–BJJ is highly technical. More than many martial arts, it can give a smaller opponent the edge over a larger and heavier opponent.
- No striking– striking is one of the most effective self-defence tools. BJJ does not include striking training
- Ground focused– BJJ is fighting up close. For the purpose of women’s self-defence, striking and maintaining distance from an assailant is the primary focus.
Good old-fashioned boxing. This tradition leans on knowledge of fist-striking techniques to overcome opponents. Boxers train hard in strength and conditioning and punching to achieve fighting prowess.
- Punching technique–specific focus on punching technique will ensure comfort with fist striking and maximum power
- Combination striking–teaches rapid striking to land hard punches quickly and effectively
- Only punching–boxing leaves out important striking options i.e. kicks, chokes, takedowns…
- Power rule–punching is linked directly to the individual’s muscular development. In a self-defence situation a larger opponent might require the use of technique over power.
Muay Thai and Kickboxing
Kickboxing and Muay are extremely popular among women. They use both fist-striking and kicking to submit opponents with striking power. For women, especially in situations of self-defence, it is important to use kicking. The muscular structures involved in a kick vs. those activated by a punch even the playing field between men and women in striking scenarios. This makes Muay Thai and Kickboxing excellent starting points for women’s self-defence.
- Punches and Kicks–Utilises hands, arms and legs for effective striking technique.
- Specialised–Programs are often tailored to women since this martial art enjoys significant demand.
- Well-rounded–these disciplines teach a broad approach to martial arts and striking techniques giving trainees access to a wide array of specialised striking options.
- No grappling or takedowns–Muay Thai and Kickboxing do not practise for situations on the ground. For this reason, professional fighters will usually incorporate some form of Judo or Jiu Jitsu into their training regime alongside something like Kickboxing and Muay Thai.
Program Structure and Self Defence
When it comes to women’s martial arts training and self-defence, the program matters.
Like anything, first we identify the goal and then strategize toward it. While knowledge of martial arts will always benefit an individual in an altercation, some programs will better prepare students for general self-defence.
A good instructor should go through
- the goals of the specific program
- what the learning objectives are, and
- what students can expect from the program.
If you’re looking to use martial arts for self-defence, make sure you approach the instructor and let him or her know.
Some programs will be geared towards tournament fighting, others might be geared towards fitness. It all depends on the structure of the program and the learning objectives.
The good news is knowing martial arts in any capacity will give students a huge advantage over the average when it comes to self-defence. The point here is to emphasise goals and strategy.
Whether you choose to train in Jiu Jitsu, Boxing, Judo, or Muay Thai, it’s a good idea to approach your instructor and let them know what your goals are.
Women’s Martial Arts and Fitness
Most martial arts training regimes will have a strong fitness component. Since, like any sport, the basic components require physical speed and endurance, strength and conditioning training will play a major role.
Moreover, martial arts training itself is generally considered high-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT is directly linked to weight loss and cardiovascular health for women. This makes martial arts training an effective means not only for self-defence but also for health and well-being more generally.
Why not kill two birds with one stone and make that trip to the gym a workout that turns you into a fighter?
So, martial arts present several potential benefits for women’s health, fitness and confidence, such as;
- Effective Self Defence
- Personal Fitness and Wellbeing
- Mental health and social confidence
For self-defence, certain programs are desirable over others. For fitness, most well-designed programs will provide HIIT that has a proven fitness record. Finally, martial arts are linked to better mental health and social relationships.
For these reasons martial arts are something most women should consider.
For those with more questions or doubts, a chat with a martial arts instructor might be enlightening. Here’s a link for a free session at Konga where you can meet an instructor and chat about your self-defence and fitness goals.
Alternatively, you can walk in anytime for a chat!