Personal Protection Training and Women

Personal Protection Training and Women

“Why the How is more Important than the What”

Many years ago when I first started teaching martial arts as a student instructor in Nampa Idaho and then years later in when I open my first full time training center in Newport Oregon, we essentially approached teaching females the same as males; this proved to be erroneous and archaic through real time experiences by females and we soon realized that a different approach and training considerations must be employed in order for females to have a better chance at being successful in the face of violence.

Let me be clear, this is NOT to imply that females are the weaker sex or inferior to males, in fact we known that in many ways females are stronger and more resilient than males, however that is not what this article is about.

This article is to communicate and provide information about the inherent unique needs that female’s have when it comes to the type of violence they often face and how they can better be trained to deal with specific and unique threats that they often are made victims of.

The core issue is exactly not “what” they are taught so much as “how” they are taught.

Before teaching any female there should be a professional one-on-one, pre-training interview between trainer and the client. This interview should be an open conversation regarding rules, values, beliefs, and life experiences, especially any surrounding previous experiences of violence with the client.  Once the interview establishes that the training relationship is a good fit then goals and training protocol needs to be established.

After the above has been executed females must understand that since most any technique in personal defense can “work” in the right given set of circumstances, the reality is for females the first and single most important aspect of training is mental training.  The reason for this is that more often than not females are mentally manipulated into compromising situations prior an assault or attack, stranger on stranger attacks are rare; thus proper mental training should occur prior any physical training, or in conjunction with any physical training.

Mental training in order should entail:

  1. Victimology: Embracing why females have a unique a need for a specific approach to personal protection.

2. Survival Self Awareness: Defining what their personal Rules, Values, and Beliefs are and aligning them.

3. Development and Understanding of having their own Survival Profile.

4.Increased mental and emotional awareness, including threat assessment.

5. De-Sensitization Training: This is very difficult for most to go through, and it MUST be done properly and professionally with de-briefing.

6.Aggression Training: The development of how to instantly elicit and aggressive response to a threat without over reacting or under reacting.

Once mental training has properly been done or is in process (physical training and mental can occur simultaneously) then females must get the proper training on tactics and techniques. Here are my nine best practices for teaching physical tactics and techniques of personal protection for females:

  1. Have a foundation of proper mental training.

2. Tactics and techniques cannot be power/strength based.

3. Tactics and techniques should be based on leverage and environmental resources.

4.Ground skills are essential.

5. Close Quarter counter assault measures are essential.

6.Weapons recognition and counter measures are essential.

7. Tactical movement is essential.

8.Survival/Tactical breathing is essential.

9.Pain management is critical.

I realize that this writing does not tell anyone “how” to do the topics laid out in this article, however it is not meant to be an instructional guide, however it is meant to give some insight for females on what to look for and demand in their training to better protect themselves when the wolf in sheep clothing enters their reality… and I type that without intending to be dramatic; unfortunately for females one of the realities is that their offenders are just that…. A wolf in sheep’s clothing that suddenly turns on them after earning trust in one way or another.

I regret having talked with, and have known, females that have taken self-defense training’s, or martial arts training, where the training did little to nothing for them when the real time event came to test them and their training, with lifelong devastating effects; the main failure based upon my knowledge of their situations, has been a total lack of mental training.

It is no secret to the devastation that occurs when violence triumphs and victims feel helpless and defeated; victimology tells us this loud and clear and I sincerely hope this helps at least one lady make a better choice in training for personal protection.


No information in this article is intended to be nor should be taken as legal advice. This article is a professional opinion from a Use of Force training perspective and court certified Use of Force expert background. One should always consult a licensed attorney for legal advice. All rights reserved by 3Tier Services Inc. and Stephen Yerger. 2/2014