As a fitness expert, mixed martial artist and boxer, I teach group fitness, kickboxing and strength conditioning to men and women. However, through my Fighting Spirit Warriors program, I teach girls and woman, ages 10-70, why being physically fit is vital to help reduce their chances of becoming a victim of rape, sexual assault or domestic violence.
In order to protect oneself from the possibility of a violent attack it helps if a female is in great physical shape, which will make it easier for her to make a quick escape from a dangerous situation or have the ability to run away from a location, if necessary, or powerful enough if she needs to fight for her life.
Potential abusers, rapists or sexual predators look for female victims in the same way a lion stalks his next meal. It looks for the weak, the occupied, the injured, or the animal who will not put up much of a fight, especially the meatiest ones; yes, the fat ones, because they can’t out run the lion, and they will have more meat on their bones to feed the family. Sexual predators and violent attackers have the same psychological make-up as a lion, minus the meal part, of course. Fighting Spirit Warriors workshops uses training techniques that help strengthen all areas of the body and focuses heavily on weak areas females normally have, i.e. upper body and core.
More important, however, is the message I try to reinforce in females when it comes to protecting themselves from a potentially violent act. It is much better if women can see the Red Flag signals early in order to get away from the situation. Using self-defense techniques should be used as a last resort, and only if a woman feels her life is being threatened.
As someone who trains in MMA (Muay Thai and Jiu-jitsu) I have created a specialized fitness program which also targets a woman’s lower body in order to help her train to defend herself from an attack from the ground or if she is in bed. Most women will give up if the attacker is in a dominate position-mounted over her. My job is to teach females and show them that they have many options to use for defense even if they are in the bottom position.
In Fighting Spirit Warriors workshops, females are also taught why it’s important to be mentally fit to deal with a potential attacker. Along with sizing a woman up physically, he will also test her mentally before he attacks her. This is done in several ways, including making rude comments, grabbing her butt, moving uncomfortably close, or being aggressive in his tone. The way a female reacts to this inappropriate behavior lets a predator know two things: 1) she is not someone he wants to mess with; 2) she will be his next victim. Being mentally fit means a woman will learn how to be assertive in her response to his improper actions and position her body to either flee from the situation or fight, if necessary. Females must be mentally alert at all times.
Despite the fact that women have accomplished many great things in life, including women boxers in the Olympics, women reaching the moon, women in position of power in politics, women who are on the front lines in wars, and women who run multi-million dollar corporations, unfortunately they still have to deal on a daily basis with the fear of mental, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse or domestic violence that predators unleash on them.
- 1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.
- Every two minutes, somewhere in America, someone, male or female, is sexually assaulted.
- 64% of women who reported being raped, physically assaulted, and/or stalked since age 18 were victimized by a current or former husband, cohabiting partner, boyfriend, or date.
- Every year in the U.S. there are over 3 million incidents of domestic violence. That means that every 9 seconds someone is being beaten by their domestic partner!
- Forty percent of girls age 14 to 17 reports knowing someone their age who has been hit or beaten by a boyfriend.
MMA and Self-Defense
Muay Thai and Jiu-jitsu are two excellent forms of mixed martial arts for women because they play to a female’s weaknesses. In Muay Thai, the use of knees and elbows are damaging tools for defense, especially because most girls and women have weak hands and wrists. I stress to clients the reason we do a great number of drills with knees and elbows is because they can be deadly blows to an attacker when using only a few strikes.
Grappling is valuable to women because it doesn’t matter if the attacker is bigger than the female in order for her to defend herself. What’s important is that she knows how to execute the techniques properly and flawlessly. Jiu-jitsu helps females learn how to maneuver on their backs if they are thrown to the ground or in bed when attacked. Understanding how to use speed and various angles to submit or control an attacker is important. It’s the difference between surviving or possibly being raped or even killed.
Fighting Spirit Warriors
Through Fighting Spirit Warriors girls and women also learn about body dynamics; body movements and the impact of a strike to their body. I have done tremendous research and found that many predators will gut punch a women when she is walking down the street in order to subdue her. Females in my program train extensively in conditioning and strengthening exercises for ABs and core in order to not only get a flat stomach, but to be able to take a punch to the gut and not buckle.
Along with losing weight, getting into excellent shape, increasing power, strength, speed and endurance, women who train in Fighting Spirit Warriors take on a whole new level of self-esteem. Not only do they carry themselves with greater confidence, but they walk and move like warriors. There is nothing more empowering for girls and women than to be physically fit and know they are armed with the ability to protect themselves.
By Jillian Bullock
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