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She’s a 4th Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo and has a solid message to share.

Alright … the message isn’t about World Peace, in fact it’s not even about feminism, nor how gorgeous Miss Nevada/Miss USA 2014 Nia Sanchez is. When asked about victimisation of undergraduate women in college and the horrific epidemic of sexual assault, Miss USA 2014 replied that she believes one should be able “defend yourself” and that more women should be able to do the same.

While immediate reaction was positive, social media presented a different story. Instead of supporting the call for women self defence, there were calls for more education, more respect/understanding from boys, and greater self respect for girls.

As a self defence and martial art instructor and practitioner who’s been in this game for more than 30 years, let me tell you a little secret. The secret is that people who come for self defence classes aren’t really interested in self defence. You think self defence is easy? You think it can be learned quickly? Self defence is none of that. It’s not a magic bullet. You can’t wave your fingers and have your attacker disappear. Real self defence when someone is shouting at you, hitting on you, choking you out, or tearing your clothes off is difficult, messy and tough. And the secret is that almost all the people who want to learn self defence think that the self defence instructor is going to gift them some magic wand that’ll make their attacker go away.

How many times have I heard “I just want to learn a little self defence” or “I just want to do some self defence when someone attacks me.” This is the myth of ‘using your opponent’s energy against him’ taken to the extremes of wishful thinking. Sure there are soft style martial artists who are extremely adept and could probably make their own defence appear balletic. But I can promise you, when shit hits the fan most soft style practitioners who train in their contrived traditional environment will not have the wherewithal to do that ‘little self defence’ to save the day.

But if you think hard stylists might have it better – think again. Many schools which engage in flippity flippity sparring or even ‘full contact’ sparring are not fully preparing their student practitioners for the reality of facing down aggression.

It doesn’t come to a full blown grudge match. Just the fact your opponent outweighs you by 20 or 30 pounds, is intimidating, pressing down on you, shouting profanities is more than enough to produce a mental blank. Being dismayed and betrayed by a person you previously thought was friendly is a situation you never thought would occur. You become a deer caught in the headlights.

Urban Warriors Academy, which produced the above Youtube clip presents a great argument for empowerment and self defence, and is a must see for anyone interested in the issue of womens self defence and empowerment. As I said before nothing is a magic bullet against an attack. But there are those who practice and make ourselves stronger bit by bit, day by day against many different assailants. This changes a person. And such change may help a person – regardless of them being male or female – to make choices that influence the way a situation will unfold.

Do you think you’ve got what it takes to fight off a person? Is it mere wishful thinking? Well, prove it.

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