#4 Martial Arts For Women To Protect Themselves

According to the statistics commissioned by the non-profit organization Stop Street Harassment, in 2019 81% of women in the USA reported experiencing harassment, the most common types being verbal sexual attacks (reported by 76% of those women), unwelcome sexual touching (49%) and being physically followed (27%).

These numbers only confirm that to be a woman is to live in fear, and to keep on researching new ways to be protected while walking on the street, getting on an Uber or simply existing in society. As a woman who’s been taking public transportation since I was twelve, I’ve managed to come up with a relatively long list of how to feel a little safer, and in between “pepper spray” and “asking a male friend to escort you”, there is “learning how to fight”.

Self-defense techniques are truly a girl’s best friends when encountering any of the situations mentioned earlier, therefore we gathered four types of martial arts for women who want to learn how to protect themselves. Not only will you be learning how to fight, but it will also build up the confidence to be able to stand up for yourself, and work on the psychological and mental parts of feeling safe and ready to fight.

  1. 1. Krav Maga

    This kind of martial arts has gained some popularity over the years for being the official self-defense system of the Israeli Defense Force, and it teaches not only how to defend yourself from in-person attacks on the street, but how to deal with armed attacks. It also works with the mental part of being under duress, rather than only the physical, and it can teach women how to turn many different body parts, like elbows and knees, into weapons.

    Krav Maga focuses on hitting vulnerable areas of the body as quickly as you can, with explosive strikes that are, at the same time, defense and attack. It also emphasizes coordination, so self-defense becomes an instinct, not something you have to think about.

  2. 2. Aikido

    This Japanese martial art is known not exactly for its moves, but for its lack of them. Aikido is mainly based on the fact that, when someone attacks you, they leave some part of their body unprotected. The Aikido fighter does nothing to stop the attack that is coming, but uses the attacker’s momentum against themselves.

    This is the main reason why it is considered one of the best martial arts for women who want to defend themselves on the streets: it does not require the exerciser to develop strength, only to make use of the opponent’s strength.

  3. 3. Muay Thai

    woman kissing black leather boxing gloves

    Just like Krav Maga, this martial art was born in Thailand and is effective for women who seek protection on the streets for using knees and elbows; these body parts are tougher than fists, so it does not require for the fighter to develop much upper body strength.

    Muay Thai will teach you how to gauge distance and fight from range and use footwork to maneuver opponents to position them to your advantage. It emphasizes discipline and focus, much needed when encountering danger.

  4. 4. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

    Based on the Japanese Jiu-Jitsu, the Brazilian version of this martial art mixes the strikes and moves from its origin with the focus of obtaining total control of the opponent’s body. It is recommended for women because, the bigger and bulkier the opponent is, the easier it is to take them down and force him to surrender, if they haven’t passed out first.

    It involves balance, and knowing how to work your attackers' break-even point, and it teaches strangulation and immobilization techniques, so it can be used in extreme situations; for instance, if the opponent manages to take you down on the floor or pin you up against a wall.


The article above was edited by Carolina Rodrigues.

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