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In this section, we shall discuss self-protection for weaker persons with special emphasis on women. Essentially, self-protection has two components: First, knowing how to avoid dangerous situations which might invite an attack, then, knowing what to do when you happen to be the victim of one. What follows is of general usefulness and is the outcome of studies and observations by several official bodies. While some of the following may require specific knowledge, the vast majority requires only plain common sense. Unfortunately, the latter is not as common as its name implies and for this reason we are giving here specific instructions.

We are living in a violent world. Examination of the causes for this ever increasing violence is beyond the scope of this work. Let us only say that the main ones relate to our scale of values, increased hedonism, the desire of instant self-gratification, unbridled greed, the acceptance of violence as a matter-of-fact and even as a form of entertainment, the deterioration of family bonds, the denigration of sex, which is often used as a sales tool, poor education, and the despair of a sizable fraction of our society which is out of step with the rest.

By nature women are muscularly weaker than men and, with some exceptions, less prone to use physical violence. The latter is more of a handicap than lack of strength, and any meaningful training for women must take it into account. Many are the examples of women hesitating to resort to physical violence until it was too late. It is hesitation combined with lack of strength, which more than anything else makes women vulnerable. For this reason, developing appropriate conditioned reflexes in women is crucial. Dodging techniques to avoid bodily contact are of primary importance. However, if such takes place, a woman s reaction should be immediate, with all the determination at her disposal. Hesitation could be fatal. Developing this mental conditioning is the most difficult part of self-protection for women and no effort should be spared to achieve it.

Effectiveness in self-defense depends on many factors, such as the mental, and physical condition and skills of the attacker and the victim as well as the locale. Unfortunately, there are no pat answers and the best course by far is to develop awareness and exercise care in avoiding danger. When confronted by an attacker, the ability to keep calm and to establish psychological control of the situation is at least as important as physical skills. An older friend of mine and his wife were held at gunpoint by two gunmen. He was ordered into his car. Calmly and resolutely, he refused, while his wife started screaming. The gunmen fled. Here is a case of a weak person, who knew nothing about self-defense, but only had courage and resolution and got away from a most dangerous situation. Of course, this does not mean that this attitude will work under any circumstances. He and his wife might have been shot dead. This example only illustrates that a calm and resolute attitude sometimes works and also, that there are no pat answers to all situations. If the nurses who were bound and methodically executed by Richard Speck had the courage to gang up against him, most of them would be alive to-day.

Because what happens the first few seconds of an attack often decides the outcome, once one decides that he has to resort to physical self-defense, he must go into action aggressively and with all the determination at his disposal. It is best by far not to fight if you do not have to. But if you must fight, forget decency and the rules of the marquis of Queensberry and do everything in your power to incapacitate your attacker. Transform your fear into cold anger. Many women who escaped their attackers did so without any special skills, but only wits and natural weapons. Screaming, scratching, kicking, kneeing, using foul language, and even babbling incoherently have proven effective weapons in self-defense. Nonetheless, acquiring self-defensive skills is most useful, if for no other reason that in the majority of cases, it increases one*s self confidence. These skills may also come in handy if the attacker becomes ferocious when his victim refuses to submit.

It is clear that judging accurately the severity of a situation and the means to use in self defense is of great importance. Unfortunately, no one can teach good judgment and even true experts have been proven wrong time and time again. But it is also true, that appropriate knowledge and training will increase anyone*s probability to defend himself successfully. The purpose of this section is, then, to enable weaker persons to learn self-protective tactics and techniques with minimum effort, maximum yield and maximum degree of retention of the techniques learned. Constant practice, while most desirable, is not always possible.

"Intellectual" knowledge of techniques is next to useless, however, knowing what to do to avoid danger may be life-saving. In this author*s lifelong experience as an educator and researcher, it is futile to try to motivate anyone who does not contribute a smidgen of motivation of his own. A good teacher may increase it considerably, but he cannot generate it, if it is not there. If he thinks he can, he will soon be proven wrong. Excuses are easy to come by. Here is a sampling of the most common ones: "I live in a safe neighborhood"—There is no such thing, but assuming there is, are you never leaving it? "I will carry a weapon"—Fine if you train to use it, but what if you lose it, you do not have it ready at hand, or someone takes it away from you? More about this later. "Don*t think about it and it won*t happen to you"—Is that right? Are you an ostrich? "I am helpless"—Not unless you want to be. "Training is long and dangerous"—It is only if you do not value your life and bodily integrity. With a qualified instructor training in self protection is NOT dangerous. In the 27 years of its existence, A.S.P. has an unmatched safety record.

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