Self-Defense: Everyday Weapons for Women


By Sifu Nancy Tei

Many women intend to study self-defense but never quite get around to it. Unfortunately, many of these women would greatly benefit from empowering themselves with at least basic knowledge of how to escape dangerous situations. For example, the CDC reports that 1 in 5 women will experience rape during their lifetime. Statistics confirm that women are much more likely than men to be victims of domestic violence and other violent crimes as well.

Even without formal self-defense training, most women are better prepared than they realize to overcome a violent attacker. For example, the average purse contains many useful objects that can easily be repurposed as weapons. Pointed objects such as pens, pencils, and keys can be aimed at the attacker’s face to make even a weak blow more lethal. If you’re attacked in a parking lot, the “alarm” or “panic” button on your electronic keys will also deter attackers by attracting unwanted attention to the scene.

If you choose to carry pepper spray or mace, make sure the nozzle is pointed toward your attacker and not toward your face if you must use it. Generally, I think attaching mini mace to your keychain is a good idea, especially if you always hold your keys in your hand on your way to your car (and you should). Attackers prefer easy targets, so they will hopefully wait for an unarmed woman rather than risk attacking a prepared one.

Swiss Army knives are legal in many, but not all, settings. Having such a tool could mean the difference between life and death in an abduction.

Of course, no weapon will be useful to you if you don’t remember to use it. A clear, focused mind will be your greatest weapon in any self-defense situation.

Sifu Nancy Tei teaches at California Academy of Martial Arts in Burbank. Tweet her @burbankwingchun

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