Everyone knows that learning how to fight improves your own personal safety. But as ironic as it sounds- MMA techniques keep you and your attacker more safe. Other than the fact that it teaches one control and discipline, it gives victims non-violent ways to assert and defend themselves. Many self-defense programs teach violent methods like eye gouging and groin kicking. While we believe that women have the right to use these techniques to defend themselves, if these are the only means we have given them to do so, we have failed as an educational program aimed at helping women.
Coach Gemma using an arm bar in competition
The fact of the matter is these techniques assume we will be attacked by a stranger on the street in an ally, when the reality is that most situations - from uncomfortable crosses of personal boundaries at college parties to sexual assault - will come from a person the victim knows; someone she is not willing to maim in order to defend herself. If women are not willing to use these techniques to defend themselves, the techniques have no value. MMA gives women the options they need to control their personal space and escape threatening grabs and positions without needing to hurt the other person. It also teaches students exactly how, and how much force to use when necessary.
MMA is highly technical and scientific, giving people real options that do not rely on size or strength. Techniques use the concepts of leverage, balance, centre of gravity, manipulating weight, and using momentum to produce movement. Attackers are normally larger in size, so strength is not a stable attribute to rely on. It is also important that victims don't use unnecessary energy, making them more tired and less able to fight back. When using a lot of strength and power without knowing how to do so properly, it is also more likely that a victim will hurt themselves.
Learning MMA techniques, although they can be used for violence, actually give women the ability to defend themselves without resorting to even more violent means, without needing strength or power, and without hurting themselves and using unnecessary energy to do so. MMA gives women options, and the confidence that comes from knowing that they have a way out, even when trapped in the most dangerous positions.
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