I have either been at a gym training or owned one myself going on about 25 years. Over those years I have seen a distinct lack of women training in self-defense. Usually women consist of about 10 - 20% of the schools population. I noticed this problem when I was training in BJJ/MMA and again while a newer student in Krav Maga. There were just not that many women training.
Women have some distinct problems that men usually don't face:
- They are sexually harassed at a much higher rate
- They are stalked at a much higher rate
- They suffer from physical spousal abuse at a much higher rate
- They are raped at a much higher rate
- They are injured or killed by partners at a much higher rate
- They may feel scared or unsafe in many places where a man feels no threat
- They are often physically smaller and have less muscle mass than many men
- Their nature is to be less physically violent
- Socially they are not brought up to fight (at least not like many men are)
The reasons for women to learn self-defense are numerous. Beyond just the physical safety skills learned, there are emotional benefits and the empowerment that comes from the training. I have had so many life changing stories of women learning self-defense, even coming to just one class, that I made it my mission to make our gym as female friendly as possible. The results speak for themselves.
- We have conducted over 30 women's self-defense workshops in that last two years
- 40%+ of our daily students are women
- We have observed many classes where there are more women than men training
- We have several advanced female students and assistant instructors
- We recently booked an event for 100 (yes, 100!) women to attend a women's self-defense workshop
- Our MeetUp group has 1200+ members!
How do we succeed in getting women to train? The answer is we encourage women to train and we make our school welcoming to them. We present classes in a way that allows women to participate without being intimidated or talked down to. We also have noticed that parents want their daughters to train in self-defense, so we made family memberships affordable.