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Why More Women are Taking Martial Arts

Updated: Aug 7, 2023

By Rochelle E. Brenner

A woman in a Philadelphia courtroom told the jury that her elementary school aged son took karate, but she was compelled to start only days after she was assaulted by a man she knew:

“I took self-defense classes, in case I’m ever under attack. I took karate. I earned my purple belt (in the months following the attack),” she said on the stand. Before that day, she had not even considered it. She reported that her group martial arts classes were some of the best moments in those months.


Myth: Women take martial arts to learn how to fight in anticipation of a future attack.

Harsh reality: Many women who take self-defense classes or martial arts do so after they were already in a bad situation and realize they need some training. Martial arts helps them to process it, regain their self-esteem and supplement their healing.


The stats: 1 out of every 4 women will be attacked or raped in her lifetime

90 percent of women assaulted knew their assailant


Conclusion: 100 percent of women and girls need to know some self-defense because at some point they will need it.


Action Karate teaches tactics and moves anyone can do at any fitness level to defend against the most common threats that specifically target women.


Many women can relate to being in situations when they wished they reacted in a different way or said something. They want a sense of control.


This has nothing to do with how many push-ups you can do, or what belt you earn. This isn’t about a cage fight. It’s about at any age, being able to react in the moment when someone is trying to hurt you or someone you know.


The regular classes – the workout, the techniques, the punching, hitting, kicking, laughing with peers, figuring out logistics, carefully forcing a training partner to drop to the ground –gives women a happy strength.


We’ve heard tons of in-the-moment stories of martial artists escaping getting jumped, car jacked, choked, groped, robbed at gunpoint, shootings, domestic violence – and for those vicious scenarios, karate is a catalyst to regaining confidence.


More and more, female students are coming in saying they were followed down the street or scared or abused or insecure or accosted and didn’t know what to do.


Students regularly tell us things like “I wish I’d known this before” and, boldly, “Now that I can imagine what I’d do, I feel more confident as a person.” “I now know I could do something to protect myself.”

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