Little woman vs. big man

A common sales pitch of martial arts is that learning my deadly art will allow a 100# woman to fight off a 300# gorilla.

As well, one common refrain about the use of tools in self defense, is that the tool becomes a way to overcome the force disparity that a 300# gorilla poses to a 100# woman. If you can have a baseball bat, pepper spray, gun, it “levels the playing field”.

So which is right? Or are both right? Or are both wrong? Or is there something else?

Rick Randolph writes that there’s actually something else that matters more:

While it may be unrealistic to think we can teach any 110 pound person to knock out a 220 pound attacker … or use pressure points or joint locks, that is not what self-defense is. See “fights” in a self-defense sense aren’t won with techniques, they are won with what Coach calls indignation.

Bad guys aren’t looking for a fight. They are looking for a victim. Give them a fight, even an unskilled one, and often times they will go look for a “better” victim


Lets face it: it wasn’t their physical skills that saved them. None of the stories tell of fancy techniques. Simply that they chose to fight. And that is the reality of self-defense. It is less about how you fight but more simply about the fact that you fight.

Make the decision you will fight now. You don’t want to wait until you have to.

Self-defense classes shouldn’t be so much about teaching people how to fight, and more about empowering them to fight and fight with everything they have.

And that’s what it is: mindset. You must have the mindset to fight. I’ve heard some say that you should become angry, or Rick above says to be indignant, which is probably a more accurate term. Use that. Let it drive you to drive them off.

Yes, I think there is great merit to using tools. That’s one of the things humans have that other animals don’t. We are gloriously mediocre in our senses and our skills, not really good at any one thing, but decently good enough at a lot of things. And one of those things we’re decently good at is using our brains to create stuff, stuff that helps us overcome our shortcomings and mediocrity. We can’t move fast, so we invent cars and planes. We can’t see well, so we invent telescopes and night vision goggles. And our fangs and claws aren’t much, so we have knives and guns. Tools are useful things and we should use them.

But the tool doesn’t matter if you’re unwilling to use it. If you buy a gun, shove it in a drawer, that does you no good. If you practice with that gun but merely plink or slow target shoot with it, that does you no good. Might you want to take classes to learn about good defensive handgun skills so you can use the tool well under pressure? Or how about taking Force-on-Force classes so you can be put into realistic scenarios and see how you’d react. Maybe see how you might be able to channel some indignation. When you read news articles, put yourself into the story and figure out how you would react to being mugged, beat up, raped, or otherwise left for dead. What would you do? Because if you play out these scenarios in your head, basically a visualization technique, and your response in them is to choose to fight, to choose to be indignant, you’re setting yourself up for success.

I don’t want people to become bitter or negative about the world and live their life in some ugly way. I do want people to acknowledge tho that the world does have ugly elements that are willing to infringe upon your life and turn it into something you could never imagine in your worst horrors. Hopefully it will never happen, but if it does, I hope you will have prepared beforehand. Whether it’s acquiring the tools, the skills, or more importantly the mindset and mentality to fight. That is what will enable a 100# woman to overcome a 300# attacker.

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