Posts Tagged ‘women’

I’ve been training for almost four years now. And there’s something that has often happened to me that I didn’t recognize as a problem until recently. People are afraid to hit me or don’t want to spar with me, simply because I’m female. Well. That’s annoying. I’m not going to break, jeez. I can’t speak for all the other women who train as to what their experience has been like, but I am so tired of having to constantly reassure people. I feel like I’m telling people that “you can hit harder”, “it’s okay to hit me”, “no it isn’t too hard” almost every class. Recently, I’ve just been getting really frustrated by this. So to everyone who is afraid of hitting me, here is why you should.


Women fight professionally too you know! They can take a punch.

It hurts me and my chances of survival. The reason I come to Krav every week, sometimes transiting for several hours even when I’m exhausted, is not because I want to make friends and giggle (Which I do). It’s cool if you do want to talk and laugh with others, but I’m trying to get the skills that will allow me to protect myself and potentially others. Considering my future career plans (law enforcement), being proficient in Krav will probably save me one day. Now obviously being attacked in class is very different than being attacked on the street. You have no idea what someone might do, and unlike in class, they might actually want to murder you. Hopefully, no one in class is actually trying to kill you. If it is, then it might be time to rethink your life if that’s happening… So let’s say I’m in class sparring and my partner is going slowly and not actually hitting me. When I get attacked on the street, I’m not going to be used to be punched and might drop the first time I’m hit. So much for Krav Maga…. Oh well, if I die, I won’t be alive to worry about it. Have fun living with THAT guilt. For the training to actually be effective, I need to be able to react to anything that might happen. Refusing to hit me, or not going as hard as you would normally is going to make things worse in the long run. 

It’s also a part of the class. I wouldn’t be in Krav if I didn’t want to be hit. We all signed the waiver and know the risks. If someone doesn’t like getting hit, they probably won’t stick around, or they’ll let you know. I don’t need someone constantly asking if that was too hard, or not hitting the pad or whatever. Lemme explain how pads work to y’all, cause I feel like some people don’t get it. Pads are these cool things that absorb the hit so that by the time it reaches the person holding it, you don’t feel it as much. Isn’t that amazing? Now, pads work the same for males and females. If I pass the pad to a male student, it will not change and suddenly work better. And after all the years of holding pads, I know the super top secret way of holding them to absorb the hit the best. Trust me, I can take it. 

It’s also disrespectful. I am a green belt. Yay? It’s been almost four years of training with UTKM. And if you think I was given a green belt because I was gently tapped on the head a few times and smiled at, you are so very wrong. I had to fight for it. Not one or two, but THREE TESTS, increasing in difficulty. So I hate writing blogs, but I literally wrote an entire post about the green belt test just so I could complain about how hard it was. But I went through the same test the other green belts did. People didn’t hold back during the tests because of my gender (It was after all attempt to murder Karis day but you know, only in a metaphoric way). Trust me, I had the bruises to prove it. When people come in and don’t want to spar with a girl or keep asking if it’s too hard, it’s spitting on everything I’ve accomplished. You are telling me that despite everything I’ve been through, I still need to be protected and coddled. I’m not going to break if someone hits me. Seriously. I’m honest I do recognize that sometimes people are raised to not hit females, but I would like my rank and what I’ve done to be recognized. Please get over it so we can move on with class. For the other women at Krav, we have so many awesome different colour belts who train hard and deserve to be treated the same as the guys. 



Karis in action

This all kinda ties into another problem. If someone going too hard in class, you have to let them know. As someone who has been forced (Voluntold) into teaching classes, it’s not easy trying to make sure that

1) you are teaching the right thing,

2) everyone is doing the technique correctly

3) think about what you are teaching next OH AND THEN make sure no one is killing each other.

Come on. You guys can figure this out. Going too hard with each other in class or not speaking up will just lead to injuries. Classes can get pretty big and your instructor can’t be everywhere at once. Just a warning, if you EVER go full force in a class I’m teaching, prepare for death >:D. Also a tip, size reeeeeeeeeallly matters. If I’m hitting at five percent, I probably will hit harder then someone else who is smaller than me. When I’m the smaller one, I won’t be able to hit as hard as the other person. This should be obvious. Remember this in sparring, and adjust for who you are fighting. We do try to avoid injuries if we can. It’s a little difficult to train with a concussion. Just a little bit.


So those are the thoughts of a NOT SASSY teenager. I’m not even really a teenager JON. DROP IT. Joking aside, this is important to me. I’m getting more and more tired of this. And I’m only eighteen (Teenager). I haven’t been alive that long. This obviously isn’t my experience with everyone. I’ve had some awesome teachers and classmates over the years. So if the remainder could just stop worrying about hitting me, that would be great. However, if you just come up to me and try to punch me in the face or something, I will react and the results may be unpleasant. 


     When we first started Urban Tactics Krav Maga, our students were primarily males. Now, we have more and more female students, and in some of the mixed gender classes, female students occupy a larger portion of the group. Being raised by strong and independent women and having served with many capable female soldiers in the military, I firmly believe that a woman can be just as capable as men when it comes to being a warrior. Historically, there are plenty of cases of female warriors, ranging from shield maidens of the Vikings, Amazons (warrior women from Greece or Asia minor), female gladiators of Roman Empire to female Japanese samurai. In any society and era there are stories of women taking up arms to defend their loved one and themselves.Even in ancient Japan, which is known as an extremely patriarchal society, allowed female warriors. Female Japanese warriors in Japan are called onna-bugeisha, who are generally wives, sisters and daughters of samurai and, in many cases, they would go into battle alone with their male relatives such as the infamous Tomoe Gozen. The legend states:

 “Tomoe was especially beautiful, with white skin, long hair, and charming features. She was also a remarkably strong archer, and as a swordswoman she was a warrior worth a thousand, ready to confront a demon or a god, mounted or on foot. She handled unbroken horses with superb skill; she rode unscathed down perilous descents. Whenever a battle was imminent, Yoshinaka (her husband) sent her out as his first captain, equipped with strong armor, an oversized sword, and a mighty bow; and she performed more deeds of valor than any of his other warriors.”

 — The Tale of the Heike


Tomoe Gozen slaying enemy general

In western history, it was a female warrior who caused the Roman Empire the most headaches during AD 60 or 61. Queen Boudica of British Iceni tribe led an open rebellion against Roman occupied forces on British Island. Boudica had great success in the beginning of the war but ultimately could not withstand the overwhelming forces of Roman Empire. While facing the imminent defeat in the Battle of HYPERLINK “”WatlingHYPERLINK “” Street, Boudica responded to the Roman’s call for surrender with following message.

“Our cause was just, and the deities were on our side; the one legion that had dared to face us had been destroyed. I, as a woman, was resolved to win or die; if the men wanted to live in slavery, that was their choice.”


Queen Boudicca’s statue London

Generally, in western culture Chinese women are often perceived as weak and docile. The women in my family are quite different. These women are strong, direct, independent, and sometimes stubborn; a typical character trait of Northern Chinese people. I was raised seeing and knowing that women are equal to men. On top of that, my mother was a Lieutenant Colonel of the Republic Of China Army (Taiwan); one rank higher than my father who was an air force major. My mother specializes in psychological warfare and rifle instructing. I suspect she has been performing tactical psychological operations on me since I was a baby. This might explain my quirkiness. In fact, at my PSYOP analyst course in Kingston, after reading my autobiography mentioned that my mother was a PSYOP officer for 25 years, the course officer and instructors come up to me and say it will be an honor to meet your mother. Having served in the Canadian Army reserve for 12 years, I have worked with numerous females and many of them were in combat trades among men. These women can perform their job just as well as any men in the military. I have had several female instructors during the courses, and they often established their authority through knowledge, experience and professionalism. I learned to respect my superiors because of their rank and knowledge instead of their gender.


One of my instructor. She is able to manhandle a 1.5 ton howitzer by herself.

This kind of feeling is universal. In fact, one of the most famed snipers, Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, who had the most kills in Iraq, frequently mentioned in his book American sniper that one of snipers he looked up to was Major Lyudmila Pavlichenko. She was one of the most successful snipers in Russian military history during World War II against the invasion of Nazi Germany.


Major Lyudmila Pavlichenko

            In the gym, I have been paired up with many ladies who are dedicated to the art of fighting. I have quickly learned not to underestimate them and pay the proper respect when stepping into the ring with them toe-to-toe. In fact, I never felt embarrassed when I was knocked down by a female fighter. A person’s gender, religion or sexual orientation when they throw a proper hook does not matter when the energy is directed on your face, because the last thing you think about is not their gender, but how painful that shot is and sometimes you don’t think much for the next couple of seconds. With the popularity of Mixed Martial Arts, many female fighters are starting to take the sports fighting stage. There are many amazing female fighters, like Ronda Rousey. These female fighters are not particular big or strong but their technique, fitness and mentality have instilled respect within millions of MMA fans. The prowess of female fighters should never be underestimated.


Ronda Rousey vs Miesha Tate UFC 168 Fight

In some bizarre way, sometimes mainstream media portray women as helpless victims who are waiting for men to rescue them, or the weird concept that women are not as capable as men. I assume this is because some men are insecure about their own masculinity and identity in society and among other men, so they have to put down women to feel better about themselves. A man does not need a weak woman to show that he is a man, just as a woman does not need a man to define what kind of woman she is.

 As a male Krav Maga instructor, I have no way to understand the challenges faced by my female students on a day-to-day basis. All I can say is that based upon history and my personal experience, courage and character are not the property of one specific gender but universal to the entire human race. One of the most important messages that the founder of Krav Maga, Imi, left to us is the reason we teach Krav Maga. It is so “one can walk in peace”. Perhaps we are not as strong, big or athletic as our attackers, maybe we are outnumbered and have a weapon pointed at us, but one of the things will give us the edge over our attackers is our training. May my students fight as fiercely as Tomoe Gozen, defiantly as Queen Boudica, and as accurately and skillfully as Ronda Rousey.



This article is dedicated to my mother. I am only strong because you showed me how to be strong.


My parents and I. ” Yes ! I was cute once. “

Written By: Borhan J

Edited By: Warren C, Lecia T & Jon F