Have you ever taken a self defense class?
Was it taught by a man or a woman?
I am asked a lot if I have separate classes for women. My answer is no, because what women really want to know is if they should train differently than men. Krav Maga is the same for both men and women, and both men and women instructors can be equally qualified, but different in their way of teaching.
When it comes to self defense, men and women face the same types of situations. These would be unexpected, non-consensual, and dangerous scenarios. I’m not talking about bar brawls and fist fights, I’m talking about true predatory violence. These attackers want something from you, whether it be your property, your body, or your life. That’s all. They also don’t want two things to happen. They don’t want to get hurt or caught. More later of what attackers are thinking in another blog…
So, back to the benefits of having a female instructor. When I first started training, I was the ONLY female with 6 guys. I consider this a good thing, because, even though I was basically thrown to the wolves, I handled it. It gave me confidence that I could indeed defend myself against a man. I was surrounded completely by men, including my instructor. This taught me a lot about how I would deliver the instruction differently, and achieve the same goal.
Women are naturally more talkative, and in an all-female class, women will be more apt to pay attention and participate, where men may get bored. Personal stories and detailed explanations of why we do certain things are important for women in understanding something new and kind of scary. Women can also have a hard time separating reason and emotion. Females tend to learn better when they create a bond with other students, as well as the instructor. In a mixed class, some of that bonding behavior can be misconstrued as inappropriate.
Women, more than men, also need more encouragement. Men are achievement based, while women are more performance based and often under estimate their abilities. Men are generally more competitive than women and in a male dominated class, women may feel intimidated and discouraged because they feel they don’t measure up.
Some women may have already had a bad experience (i.e. assault, rape) and their stress level is through the roof before they even begin a class. Men can actually learn better under stress. Women, on the other hand, weaken under stress.
The truth is, we have parts that men don’t have, and some different wiring. Knowing that someone like you is teaching from a similar perspective will ease the experience, and even though the curriculum is the same, the process can be altered so women can achieve the same outcome and training.