Self-defense and martial arts are not the same thing!

Group of women flexing their arms to show their strength

The difference between martial arts & self-defense

Many people think that to learn to protect themselves against everyday dangers they have to learn a martial art — they have to master Michelle Yeoh’s or Jackie Chan’s moves. This simply isn’t true.

While many martial arts did evolve as self-defense systems, they suited the needs of a people in a specific time and place (such as sword-fighting on horseback in 17th century Korea). They don’t translate well to practical, modern-day needs. You’re not, for example, going to do a flying kick to a potential rapist, workplace harasser, or child abuser.

Instead, you can use self-defense techniques for the real dangers women, girls, and LGBTQI+ people face in society today. These are best addressed through a quality empowerment self-defense class.

Self-defense and martial arts each have strengths — and they do have things in common. Here are a few:

SELF-DEFENSE

Anybody can learn basic self-defense skills, even somebody small, elderly, with physical disabilities, overweight, or out of shape. It’s not a form of exercise.

MARTIAL ARTS

Is a good workout. Will get you in shape and bring you the health benefits of fitness. Some schools are geared toward sports and competition and attract younger or more athletic people. Other schools are non-competitive and view martial arts as a practice open to anyone.

BOTH

Get you in touch with your physical power.

SELF-DEFENSE

Teaches skills to use against harassment, abuse, and assault, including everyday situations that don’t involve physical attack.

MARTIAL ARTS

May teach awareness to help with prevention, and may help develop confidence to handle daily situations. The physical fighting techniques of martial arts, though, are not usually practical or realistic for the kind of attacks that happen in today’s world.

BOTH

Increase confidence.

SELF-DEFENSE

Effective skills that can be learned quickly.

MARTIAL ARTS

Must be studied for a long time to attain proficiency; often a life-long pursuit.

BOTH

Create a stronger mind-body connection.

SELF-DEFENSE

Develops self-respect and awareness. Facilitates healing of past traumas.

MARTIAL ARTS

Develops discipline, respect, focus.

BOTH

May spur internal change as well as learning specific skills.

SELF-DEFENSE

Depending on the program, may connect to feminism, anti-racism, and larger social justice issues. Develops a broader awareness of issues related to gender-based violence.

MARTIAL ARTS

Depending on the focus of each school, may encourage spiritual development and/or martial arts as sport and competition.

BOTH

May make connections beyond the particular focus of the program or school.

Sign up for a class

Get Ready for College

Finishing high school? The bad news is that the late teens and early 20s are a high-risk time for sexual harassment and assault. The good news is that research shows empowerment self-defense training can make a huge difference!

Join us to learn skills to be safer and more confident as you head off (literally or virtually) to school or work.

Since most attacks are by someone you know, we focus on prevention, boundary-setting, assertiveness skills, and physical strikes as a last resort in a college setting.

Who: Rising high-school juniors, seniors, and college students who identify as women, trans men, or non-binary.
What: 3-hours of interactive learning with practical exercises based on real-life situations in a small group.
When: Sunday, July 24, 2:30 – 5:30 p.m. Eastern
Where: Online via Zoom, so people from almost anywhere can join!
Cost: $79 per person.

Slots are limited, so register soon!