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  • Writer's pictureJackie Bradbury

3 Reasons Filipino Martial Arts ROCK (For Women)

I go to a lot of seminars and I train with a lot of people, not just in where I live now, but all over the United States.

It is not unusual for me to be the only woman in the room when I'm training.  Even at seminars, there may be only one or two other women in a crowd full of guys.

Exhibit A. Count all the women in this group.

This is not terribly uncommon in the martial arts world - for women to be the minority on the mat.  It's something you have to be used to when you're a woman who likes to practice violence as a hobby.

It's especially par for the course in the Filipino Martial Arts, at least, in my personal experience here in North America.

I tell you what, though... man, I sure wish we could get more women into the Filipino Martial Arts, because it's just so made for us, y'know?

Here's some reasons why:

Weapons Are the Great Equalizer

In reality, in a self defense situation, 99% of us would be prefer to be armed than unarmed.  A weapon of any kind is that great of an advantage versus unarmed.

It's especially true for women in self-defense situations vs. a male.

I'm hearing some of you already, "Who walks around armed with a stick?"  (and maybe a snicker or two).

The stick is often a stand-in for other stuff.  It can be an umbrella, a walking cane, a backpack or purse, a pen, a knife, a machete, a tire iron... any tool, really.  Our training methodology lends itself very well to improvised weapons, and most of us walk around with something that can be used in a pinch!

Strength is not the Primary Factor

Being strong is, of course, always an advantage in fighting or in self defense situations.  The FMA's are no different.

But being strong is not in itself the primary factor in being good at the FMA's.  Timing, speed, and accuracy (targeting) are.  Strength is helpful, of course, but timing, speed and accuracy are things that women can develop just as well as men can.

Thus, in the FMA's, the playing field is a little more level for the women in the room.

Being Short is Less of a Problem

We'll all agree that, all things being equal, that being tall and having a long reach is definitely an advantage when it comes to violent situations. No argument there.

In the FMA's, though, we learn to work with what we are given (and force the opponent to give us what we want).  This means that we learn what targets are good no matter who we are facing and what we are presented with.

I'm 5'2" (about 158 cm) tall.  I'm usually one of the shortest adults in the room when I train.  Thus, instead of going for head shots on tall people, I have learned to take the arm (hand, wrist, elbow, under the bicep), the torso (too many great targets to list here), the neck/under the chin, the inner thigh, and the legs as targets versus tall people.

I get on the inside of the person's reach, then...

It's pretty awesome.

I hope that more women check out the FMA's as a martial art to study, because as you can see, I think it's well-suited to the average female martial artist.

What do you like about the FMA's for women?  Or what other arts are great for women - and why? I'd like to hear what YOU think!

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