Tag: Women’s Self-Defense

May Women’s Self-Defense Seminar

Learn essential self-defense skills in this empowering one-day Women's Self-Defense Seminar

We're hosting another Women's Self-Defense Seminar where you can learn the skills to fend off attackers and protect yourself and your loved ones. In this seminar you will learn about the nature of attacks and violence, avoidance skills, mindset and disruption tactics, as well as practical defensive techniques that are easy to master and quick to use in the event of an attack.

NO EXPERIENCE REQUIRED

This seminar is designed to be beginner-friendly and is open to everyone interested in joining us! We focus on the fundamentals that everyone can learn and do. No Hollywood movie stunts, no nonsense. Just real, effective, practical self-defense.

The seminar will close with what to do if you have been attacked, as well as a Q&A session to answer all of your questions.

Seminar Details

When:
May 26th (Saturday)

Time:
2:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Where:
Wik Academy of Martial Arts
8419 Cincinnati-Columbus Rd.
West Chester, OH 45069 (at the corner of Butler-Warren and Route 42/Reading Rd.)

Registration:
$35 per person (non-members)
$20 per person (members)

What to Bring:
Just your fabulous self is all that is required! Water will be available but bringing a personal water bottle is always a good idea.

Questions? Send us an email at SimoWik@WikMartialArts.com or give us a call anytime at 513-760-5553.

Register Now Join the Event on Facebook

P.S., Training is way more fun with friends! If you sign up with a friend or family member use code BetterWithFriends to get $5 off your registration and give the code to your friends so they can share the discount!

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March 2018 Women’s Self-Defense Seminar

Learn essential self-defense skills in this empowering one-day Women's Self-Defense Seminar

We're hosting another Women's Self-Defense Seminar where you can learn the skills to fend off attackers and protect yourself and your loved ones. In this seminar you will learn about the nature of attacks and violence, avoidance skills, mindset and disruption tactics, as well as practical defensive techniques that are easy to master and quick to use in the event of an attack.

NO EXPERIENCE REQUIRED

This seminar is designed to be beginner-friendly and is open to everyone interested in joining us! We focus on the fundamentals that everyone can learn and do. No Hollywood movie stunts, no nonsense. Just real, effective, practical self-defense.

The seminar will close with what to do if you have been attacked, as well as a Q&A session to answer all of your questions.

Seminar Details

When:
March 31st (Saturday)

Time:
2:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Where:
Wik Academy of Martial Arts
8419 Cincinnati-Columbus Rd.
West Chester, OH 45069 (at the corner of Butler-Warren and Route 42/Reading Rd.)

Registration:
$35 per person (non-members)
$20 per person (members)

What to Bring:
Just your fabulous self is all that is required! Water will be available but bringing a personal water bottle is always a good idea.

Questions? Send us an email at SimoWik@WikMartialArts.com or give us a call anytime at 513-760-5553.

Register Now Join the Event on Facebook

P.S., Training is way more fun with friends! If you sign up with a friend or family member use code BetterWithFriends to get $5 off your registration and give the code to your friends so they can share the discount!

Filed under: AnnouncementsTagged with: , , ,

Start The New Year Off Right With Discounted Memberships in January

We all say we want to get in shape and start self-defense classes, but it's so easy to put it off. Don't let "I'll do it tomorrow" become "I'll do it eventually" or even "Eh, nevermind."

It's never too late to start learning self-defense and getting fit, and we're sweetening the deal with an exclusive bonus this January:

50% off new memberships this month only!

All you have to do is schedule a free trial class and sign up before January 31st to get in on the deal.

We'll Never Forget Our Current Students

We are so thankful for our current students - you make the gym awesome! So we have a special bonus for you too: do you know someone who would be interested in trying classes? If they sign up before January 31st we will double your referral bonus in February.

This offer is only for a limited time, so be sure to sign up before the end of the month.

Filed under: AnnouncementsTagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,

January Women’s Self-Defense Seminar

Event Update: Due to poor weather conditions we will be postponing the seminar and holding it Saturday, January 20th instead of the 13th.

Learn essential self-defense skills in this empowering one-day Women's Self-Defense Seminar

NO EXPERIENCE REQUIRED

This seminar is designed to be beginner-friendly and is open to everyone interested in joining us!

In this seminar you will learn about the nature of attacks and violence, avoidance skills, mindset and disruption tactics, as well as practical defensive techniques that are easy to master and quick to use in the event of an attack.

The seminar will close with what to do if you have been attacked, as well as a Q&A session to answer all of your questions.

Seminar Details

When:
January 20th (Saturday)

Time:
2:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Where:
Wik Academy of Martial Arts
8419 Cincinnati-Columbus Rd.
West Chester, OH 45069 (at the corner of Butler-Warren and Route 42/Reading Rd.)

Registration:
$35 per person (non-members)
$20 per person (members)

What to Bring:
Just your fabulous self is all that is required! Water will be available but bringing a personal water bottle is always a good idea.

Questions? Send us an email at SimoWik@WikMartialArts.com or give us a call anytime at 513-760-5553.

Register Now Join the Event on Facebook

P.S., Training is way more fun with friends! If you sign up with a friend or family member use code BetterWithFriends to get $5 off your registration and give the code to your friends so they can share the discount!

Filed under: AnnouncementsTagged with: , ,

Everything You Need To Know About Pepper Spray – A Guide

U.S. Navy Master-at-Arms Justin Farrow sprays a sailor in the face with OC spray during a training course.

Pepper spray, self-defense spray, mace - there are lots of names for those canisters of spray you can carry around and use to deter an assailant. But what are the differences between sprays? Which one is best?

There's a surprising amount of detail and options in choosing the right self-defense spray and in this article our goal is to explain the differences between the common options, how to pick the best one for your needs, debunking some myths, and everything you need to know to use self-defense spray effectively.

Why Get A Self-Defense Spray?

The first, and biggest, is the barrier to entry for pepper spray is almost non-existent. You don’t need any special paperwork or licenses to own it, it’s legal in every state (although sometimes with restrictions), and pepper spray is very cheap.

Pepper Spray is also less-lethal and it works, which is the other major reason why we recommend it so often. It is incredibly effective against attackers even though it won’t cause any lasting damage. More importantly, should you lose it or get it taken away from you, it also won’t cause any lasting harm to you or anyone else.

And lastly, a small but still important benefit to carrying pepper spray is that it is lightweight and many canisters are also small, making them easy to carry around. This can also work to their detriment, but overall I consider it a benefit.

For Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana Residents: There are no restrictions on the sale, size, formula, or possession of pepper spray. We recommend individuals in other states to always check their local and state regulations before making a purchase.

How to Pick The Right Spray

To pick the right kind of pepper spray or gel, you need to consider a few things - the formula, the strength, the size, and whether you want a spray or a gel.

The formula is the most important piece of choosing the right spray. There are three types of chemicals available on the general market for self-defense: CN (Phenacyl chloride), CS (2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile), and OC (oleoresin capsicum). CN and CS are irritants originally developed for military use - you may know some of the formulas that use one or both of these, such as tear gas and Mace (a specific branded formula of CN).

CN and CS work by irritating the mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, mouth, and lungs causing tearing, coughing, sneezing, difficulty breathing, and burning pain. In some cases, it can even cause vomiting and disorientation. It's less common but skin exposure to these chemicals, especially in a higher concentration, can also cause chemical burns. At very close range it can also scar the cornea causing permanent eye damage. Symptoms usually appear after 20-60 seconds of exposure and usually clear up after 30 minutes to an hour.

Yep, pepper spray comes from peppers. Ever chopped a jalapeno then accidentally rubbed your eye afterward? That burning feeling? Imagine that, but even stronger and also in your lungs, nose, mouth, and all over your skin. Or maybe don't imagine it. Your choice.

OC (pepper spray/capsicum) causes the mucous membranes to become inflamed, not just irritated, and also causes immediate closing of the eyes, difficulty breathing, tears, runny nose, coughing, burning sensations on the skin, and upper body spasms. Symptoms are typically immediate upon exposure. The worst symptoms usually subside after 30-50 minutes, with diminished effects lasting up to several hours.

Of self-defense spray formulas, OC is the best for self-defense. CS and CN depend on the attacker’s reaction to the irritation, and the reaction can often be overcome or non-existent due to the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. OC causes inflammation so no matter what your mental or physical state is, your body will react to it. The degree depends on the person, strength of the formula, how much actually contacts them, and furthermore, if they’ve ever encountered it before or if they have trained themselves to be able to fight through it. It’s not a magic bullet but it is the best of the choices available.

Most pepper sprays only contain one of the three chemicals listed above, however there are also some that contain a blend of the different formulas.

Strength of the formula for OC spray depends on both heat/strength of the peppers used and concentration. The heat of the peppers used to make OC are graded using Scoville Heat Units (SHU) and range from 500,000 to 5.3 million. The more SHUs, the stronger the reaction the spray will cause. Ideally, look for at least 1 million SHUs.

Concentration of OC spray is listed on most products, varying from 1% to 40%. A concentration of 5% will typically affect a person for about 30 minutes, so look for sprays 5% or higher. Some companies label their sprays by “total capsaicinoids” or “true heat indicator” which is a calculation of the combined concentration and SHU. The highest numbers commonly seen by this measurement are around 2%.

If the spray you are looking at does not list the formula alongside either the concentration, the SHU, or the total capsaicinoids, don’t buy it. Ideally, you want one with the highest combination of OC percentage and SHU.

Self-defense sprays come in all sizes, from keychain rings to large spray canisters for police use. The keychain units are convenient, cheap, and easy to carry everywhere but since they are so small, they usually only contain a few seconds worth of spray and often cannot spray more than five feet.

Sprays also often come in 1-3 ounce containers which can offer much more spray time and often can cover a greater distance too (15-20 feet). They aren’t as convenient to carry around, but personally I like this size most for everyday carrying since they are a good balance of convenience and usefulness.

As mentioned, self-defense sprays do come in larger containers which are impractical for carrying around but are ideal when concealment and ease of carrying isn’t a concern, such as keeping in the home as a defense tool.

The final thing to consider in a spray is the spray pattern and whether it is a spray or a gel. Each has its own pros and cons you’ll have to weigh when choosing which one to purchase.

The stream pattern comes out in a single, solid stream, similar to a water gun. Streams have the longest range and best targeting, however require the owner to be more precise with their firing in order to ensure the attacker actually inhales the chemical. Similarly, pepper gels often come in the stream pattern and have all of the same pros and cons but with the added benefit of being a gel so the chance of blow back is significantly decreased.

Another option is the aerosol spray, fog, or mist pattern. This spray pattern creates a cloud of pepper spray into the air so the attacker is more likely to inhale the active ingredients in the spray. While this pattern is more likely to affect the target and requires less precision in firing, there is a great variability in spread so it will affect anyone who happens to be in the cloud. Additionally, being smaller particles they also linger in the air longer and so the risk of being accidentally contaminated from blow-back is higher.

The last common spray pattern we’ll look at is foam. The name is pretty descriptive, as the consistency of foam sprays are like common liquid foams you’ve probably encountered. Foams have similar advantages and disadvantages to gels and sprays with the stream pattern, are very sticky, and can cover an opponent’s face extremely well. However, they are also the slowest to take effect. I would only recommend pepper foams and gels if you are greatly concerned with contamination (which for certain health concerns, such as asthma, you would want to consider) with the added note that these types of pepper spray require a greater amount of practice.

Plan How You Will Carry It

Once you know what to look for in a self-defense spray, the next step is to plan how you will carry it. You can also get multiple canisters for different occasions - one for when you are out on a jog, hike, or bike ride, one for when you are out running errands or with friends, and so on.

Knowing what occasions you will be carrying your spray with you will help you figure out the best place to carry it on you, as well as a deployment plan if it becomes necessary to use.

Don’t keep your spray at the bottom of your purse, on a keychain (even if it is a keychain unit), or anywhere not quickly accessible! Test out the places you will carry your spray - start a timer and test how long it takes you to get your spray out, disengage the safety if it has one, then aim and prepare to spray. Were you able to do all of this in two seconds or less? If not, find another place to keep it. In an attack, every second matters and if it takes you too long to deploy or if you have to fumble to access your canister, you might as well not even have it.

Practice! Practice! Practice!

U.S. Navy Training includes fighting back while suffering the effects of pepper spray.
Fire Controlman 3rd Class Robin Norris, from Wailuku, Hawaii, defends herself from a simulated attacker after being sprayed with oleoresin capsicum (OC) spray during security reactionary forces training on the flight deck. What a badass!
Photo courtesy the U.S.
Navy and Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Declan Barnes

Being able to use pepper spray effectively requires that you are comfortable with it, can access it quickly, and can hit your target. Thusly, you should practice with your spray every so often until it becomes as natural to you as riding a bike.

Every brand has their own operational design, so it’s important that you are familiar and comfortable with the particular one you choose to carry. Does it have a safety? How does the trigger work? Is it easy to tell by feel which direction the nozzle is facing?

An easy way to practice on your own is to have your spray on you where you would most likely keep it and set up some paper plates in your backyard or in a field at varying distances and heights (but around where an attacker’s head might be.) Then you can practice deploying and firing at the plates. Bonus points if you time it.

If you want to go the extra mile, you can also have someone spray you so you know what to expect and can prepare yourself if you ever get accidentally contaminated during an encounter.

Side note: accidentally get some pepper spray on you? There’s a 99% chance it won’t be the end of the world, but it does suck. Unfortunately, the best thing to do for treatment is to just wait and try not to touch the affected areas. If you have a respiratory condition and get contaminated by any form of self-defense spray, seek medical attention immediately.

Pepper Spray Tactics

Shut up and spray them. If you are in a sketchy situation or attacked, don’t announce your actions or that you have pepper spray on you. The less an assailant knows about you and your capabilities, the better. Don’t give them the opportunity to anticipate what you might do, don’t give them the opportunity to preempt you or stop you from defending yourself.

There is no legal requirement to announce that you are going to spray them. It’s highly unlikely that it will cause them any long-term ill effects. Spray them and run away.

Spray and run. Hanging around someone who intends you harm, even if you did get the spray into their face and they are suffering the effects of it, only increases your chance of getting hurt further. Sometimes the spray doesn’t work, sometimes it effects them for a few seconds, sometimes a whole minute. These details aren’t important to you, getting to safety is. Spray them and get out of there as soon as it’s safe to do so.

Aim for the Face. This should go without saying, but it’s still a key element to keep in mind with self-defense sprays. The spray has to get in their eyes and lungs to be effective, so you can’t just spray willy-nilly and hope for the best.

Don’t waste spray. Once the spray is in the assailant’s face continuing to use more spray is not more effective. It’s wasteful and can potentially weaken what has gotten into their face, increasing the amount of time for the chemical to take effect.

Don’t get any closer than you have to. The closer you get to the attacker, the greater the risk of having the canister taken away from you. Use it as soon as you feel it is necessary, back away and create distance if you can.

Consider backup plans. Pepper spray is effective most of the time. Sometimes it doesn’t work. Sometimes it takes a while for it to affect the attacker. It’s possible that you miss them entirely. Point is, be prepared for things to go sideways and you’ll need to have a backup plan.

If you spray for five seconds and it doesn’t have any effect, throw it away as far as possible so the attacker has to chase after it if they want to take it and use it against you.

Pepper Spray Maintenance

Yep, I said pepper spray maintenance. There are a few things you need to know in order to make sure your canister will work if and when you need it:

Shake your canister monthly. This will ensure the active ingredients will stay mixed with the carrier agent.

Test fire your spray every two-to-three months. The nozzles are small but debris can still find its way in there, so make sure the nozzle is clear and can still fire as expected.

Pepper Spray Expires! Be sure to replace it by the date on the package. If there is no date on the package, replace every two years. The pepper in the spray will still be potent, but aerosols lose pressure over time. A pepper spray that can’t spray is of no use to you.

Conclusion

Self-defense sprays are an excellent and potent option for anyone looking for a way to protect themselves. They’re cheap, easy to carry, legal in most states, and don’t require the same amount of training a more lethal option would.

Consider your habits, pick the OC spray right for you, practice, and maintain your canisters for the best results. Combine this with good situational awareness and you’ll have the best chances of getting out of a bad situation.

Bonus: Side notes and Recommended Sprays

I’ve seen a lot of people recommend things like wasp spray and hairspray as alternatives to pepper spray. Why, when they are less easy to carry and cost the same, I just don’t know. Furthermore, there is even less of a guarantee that they will be effective. Buy what has been proven to work and don’t waste your money.

Similarly, be careful buying a canister with a novelty shape. Companies market sprays in a variety of novelty containers like lipstick, pens, flashlights, grenades, and even firearms. Carrying around pepper spray in a canister shaped like a firearm is a terrible idea on many levels, but worse still is that some of these shapes, while unique, are often less reliable and more difficult to deploy than regular canisters.

Bear Sprays actually use the same chemical as OC self-defense sprays, and it’s commonly thought are actually stronger than most OC self-defense sprays. This idea seems plausible considering that an angry bear is much larger and stronger than any human and therefore must require a stronger spray to deter, right? Thanks to this line of thinking (and few people actually bothering to check) it’s oft repeated that Bear Spray is stronger than self-defense spray.

If you can’t guess from my tone, this is false. Bear Sprays are rarely stronger than OC self-defense sprays. Of course this varies from product to product and you will have to compare packaging, but to summarize it quickly bear spray is regulated by the EPA and must conform to a set of standards (self-defense sprays aren’t heavily regulated) such as they must be 1-2% OC, in canisters of around 8 oz, be able to cover 25 feet, among a handful of other standards. Point is: it’s well regulated, a very effective deterrent for bears, but not always a better option for deterring another human.

Without further ado, here are a few sprays we like:

Small Containers

Sabre Red Runner Spray - Small (.75 oz) and made with an adjustable strap for easy holding the Sabre Red Runner Gel is a great option for when you are out on a jog. At 10% OC and 2 million SHU, it’s also on the higher end of the strength spectrum. They also have a UV dye in them to help identify suspects. It is a gel, so be sure to practice your targeting! These generally run $10-15 and can be purchased directly from Sabre, from Amazon.com, or you can support us and purchase from us.

Fox Labs Mean Green - The Mean Green line of Fox Labs’ comes in 15 gram to 3 oz canisters, 6% OC, and multiple stream patterns (splatter stream, stream, and cone fog). These are small but powerful sprays with a green dye in them to help identify suspects. The average price range on these is $14-30 and can be purchased via Fox Labs or Amazon.

1-3 ounce containers

Fox Labs Five Point Three - Fox Labs’ Five Point Three line comes in 1.5-3 oz canisters, all at 2% THI, and your choice of spray pattern (fog, foam, stream). They also have a flip-top to prevent accidental discharges. Additionally, these sprays contain a UV Dye to help suspect identification. Price ranges from $18-$25, and these can be purchased directly from Fox Labs, as well as on Amazon.

Large containers

Sabre Red Home Defense Gel - All the same as the above Sabre products except this comes in a 13oz canister. Usually around $50 and can be found on Sabre, Amazon, or via us.

Fox Labs Five Point Three Tactical Unit - The big brother of the Five Point Three line, these monsters come in at 12 oz and in Fog or Stream patterns. They’re usually around $60 and can also be found on Amazon.

If you can’t tell, we really like Sabre Red and Fox Labs. They both make quality products, but they aren’t the only companies out there. There are plenty of other manufacturers of OC spray, so be sure to read reviews and check the packages when making a decision.

Training Sprays

Not to sound too much like a sales ad, but if you are serious about buying a self-defense spray, as I noted above it’s ideal to train with it.

Don’t want to waste product and money spraying OC spray everywhere? Look for inert training units - particularly from the same company your OC spray is from, so the canister design will be as similar as possible. These are usually cheaper than their active cousins, so your wallet won’t hurt too much from it.

Do you have a brand of spray you like or a unique method of training? Feel free to share your recommendations with everyone in the comments below.

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9 Women’s Self-Defense Myths

Mysterious Man

The world of what makes good martial arts and self-defense is a complicated and muddy one. Narrow that down to women's self-defense and it's even worse. Like in the fitness and nutrition industry there’s a lot of conflicting advice, self-proclaimed experts passing off bad advice to make a quick buck, and pride alongside good, well-educated instructors.

It can be overwhelming to go through all of the conflicting advice to sort out what is true and what isn’t. Add to that the fact that fear is a daily part of many women’s lives and it’s easy to take the path of least resistance and look for anything that promises a quick, easy solution.

To make that process a little easier, let’s bust some of the common myths surrounding self-defense for women and help everyone make better choices.

1. Shut Down Any Attacker With This One Move…

Lots of people - especially in online videos - like to advertise simple, one-shot defenses. “This technique will stop an attacker every time!” “Do this joint lock if you’re grabbed!” “Go for the eyes!”

The problem with relying on one simple defense is that there are so many variables in an attack that no one 'technique' can account for all of them. Attacks are not the rigid, turn-taking encounters like you might see in a video or practice. They are dynamic, hectic, and vary even more depending on who is attacking you. What if you try that one cool, ancient move you saw but it doesn’t work? What if the attacker knows how to defend against it? What if they punch you in the face?

You cannot rely on any one technique to protect yourself, if you truly want to know how to defend yourself you need to learn how to fight in a variety of situations and ranges, and against partners who are resisting.

2. “A Good Kick To You-Know-Where Never Fails”

I wish.

So many "experts" in women's self-defense love to tell them to "simply kick the groin and you'll take out any guy!" Unfortunately though, hitting a fella in the groin is not guaranteed to stop him. Most guys have been hit there at least a few times and have ingrained automatic responses to protect that area. You might even be dealing with someone on enough controlled substances to have a severely dulled pain response. Some have even learned how to ignore hits to the area. I’m not saying don’t go for it - if there is an opportunity, hit it! But don’t rely on it.

Much like there is no magic bullet technique, hitting a male in the groin is also not a magic bullet to taking them out.

3. All You Need Is A Weekend Women's Self-Defense Seminar

Seminars are a great way to learn the basics in a short amount of time, but don’t expect to become an expert in just a few hours.

Only so much can be taught in such a limited amount of time, and to become good at it you will need to keep practicing what you've learned. If you do go to a seminar there are a few simple tips to get the most out of it.

How to get the most out of a seminar:

  • Take a notebook. Making notes about the things you've learned will help digest the information you've just learned, and provide a great way to review again later.
  • Ask if you can record yourself practicing the techniques. Many instructors won't want you to film them teaching but might be okay if you film yourself, so be sure to ask!
  • Ask lots of questions. Making sure you understand the information and techniques is crucial for it to be useful to you.
  • Keep Practicing! The most important element of being good at self-defense is practice. Like any skill, the more you practice the better you get and the more the movements become like second-nature. This is what you should be aiming for - so practice as often as you can and if possible, find someone to practice with.

4. Gimmicky Weapons/Tools

Whole industries are devoted to peddling disguised weapons. Many of these “weapons” fail to actually think about the scenarios in which they’d be used, overstate their effectiveness, and/or are just plain useless. They’ll use the best marketing tactics and sales-talk to convince you that their weapon is “the best” tool to protect yourself with.

The biggest problem with most self-defense weapons on the market is that they are about as effective as a security blanket, and fail to account for the most likely attacker. Hint: It’s probably not going to be that weirdo who cat-called you. Unfortunately, the most likely person to violently attack a woman is someone they know (a friend, a relative, or a partner) and the attack will most likely come when their guard is down.

For the sake of space, I won’t list every single bad tool out there, but here’s a couple of the most common we’ve seen going around lately:

The Go Guarded is a well-intentioned women's self-defense tool but fails to be practical.
This is not how you punch.

GoGuarded - These are little rings that you place on your finger with a spike on them. The main selling points is that it’s a sharp point that you can use to defend yourself and since it’s on a ring it cannot be easily taken away.

While it’s great that it can’t be easily taken away - that’s one of the biggest concerns with any weapon or tool - the angle the point is at is completely ridiculous. You would never hit anyone like that, and you're sacrificing speed and power if you attempt to hit someone at the awkward angle this ring would require to work. Save your money and don’t buy this.

The Tiger Lady Claw for
The Tiger Lady Claw will NOT turn you into Wolverine.

Tiger Lady Claw - These are “claws” that pop out when you squeeze the product in your fists. They’re intended to be used to scratch the attacker and have little bowls inside the claws that hang onto any DNA samples gathered while defending yourself. The issue I have with these is that your only real option with these is to scratch - that’s it. Scratching will absolutely not stop someone who is determined to attack you. If anything, it will just anger them and make them more determined to harm you.

Stun Guns - Stun guns are a pretty common less-lethal alternative to many weapons, some even have flashlights on them. The flashlights are useful if you need to see in the dark but are rarely enough lumens to actually temporarily blind a potential attacker. The number one problem with stun guns is that they are actually rather ineffective as a self-defense tool. They hurt when on bare skin but for civilian models it takes up to four seconds of direct contact with a major muscle group to incapacitate - it’s nowhere near strong enough to stop someone who is committed to attacking you. On thick clothes it's barely noticeable. The sound is startling, but I wouldn’t count on that alone.

Furthermore, thanks to Hollywood many people think stun guns actually disable a person for a short period after it's been used on them. In reality, it only incapacitates a person while being used. If you are going to use one, you need to be close enough to use it, actually make contact with bare skin, then be able to run away immediately.

A final note to consider with any non-firearm weapon is legality. Laws vary between states, stun guns are illegal in some states and/or cities. They may also be banned in certain businesses or public areas. Check with your state and where you'll likely be carrying your weapon to make sure you don't get in trouble for having and using it. Stun guns are legal to own and carry in Ohio.

5. All You Need Is A Weapon

Unfortunately, it's not just a question of avoiding the gimmicky weapons and carrying an effective one. Having a weapon can be a useful tool in your arsenal for self-defense but it cannot be the only option you have. There are many considerations when deciding on carrying a weapon, and in choosing which one to carry.

First you have to take into account that it's unlikely you’ll have a weapon on you at all times. Whether it’s simply inconvenient to carry everywhere, illegal to carry into certain areas, or the simple “I just didn’t happen to have it on hand at that moment.”

Then you have to factor in ease of access - anything in your purse is too likely to get buried and when you are full of adrenaline it will be even harder to fumble around to grab a weapon. The easier it is to deploy and use, the better.

The worst thing you can do is to buy a weapon like a firearm and think that’s it. That’s all you needed to do. Even if you buy pepper/OC spray, you have to train to use the weapon and practice with it. (By the way, did you know pepper spray canisters can go bad?) Failure to train in using and retaining a lethal weapon is an excellent way to miss your target, get it taken away from you, and then promptly get killed with it. Training should also include a plan B for if you drop the weapon, cannot get to it, or get it taken away from you.

Most of all it’s important to remember not to over-rely on any particular weapon, to have backups, and to make sure you are mentally ready to use whichever item you choose.

If you are going to own a weapon getting proper training with it is absolutely crucial. Know the laws in your city and state, choose the right weapon for you, and then get as much training with it as you can to ensure you hit your target and not miss - or worse hit an innocent bystander. Just as important is training to ensure you don’t get your weapon taken away from you. Training should also help you learn to not be too weapon-focused. Too often people fixate and forget they have other tools at their disposal. You have to be able to adapt.

Buying a weapon for self-defense can be a valuable tool, but it requires practice and cannot be your only tool. Practicing awareness, avoidance, de-escalation skills, and open-hand skills are crucial pieces of self-defense that shouldn’t be forgotten.

6. You Can Learn From YouTube

Videos can be a great addition to training, however, there are a few issues that can come up as a result.

The first of which is many promise they are the only thing you need. A video can be a great addition to your training, but it’s just that - an addition. It's something to help you practice, but you still need a qualified instructor to help correct your form and ensure you are practicing the techniques correctly.

Secondly, anyone can make videos and share them or put them up online for sale. If you are going to use them as a part of your training make sure you are getting them from good, credible sources.

7. What You Wear Makes You A Target

One of the #1 most common myths that just won’t hurry up and die already is that what a woman wore caused her to become a target. This is statistically and demonstrably false. There are a number of things attackers do use to choose targets: Who looks like they won’t put up a fight? Who looks easy to overpower? Who won’t tell? Who is not paying attention? There is a whole process attackers use when choosing targets. It all boils down to who does the attacker think they can target with minimal risk to themselves.

8. Predators Look Different From “Normal” People

It’s easy to rationalize that criminals and predators aren’t like “normal” people. It’s difficult for many to understand what causes someone to attack another person and so our minds imagine them as looking obviously "other" to help distance ourselves from them. It helps that many mugshots of criminals often make them look crazy and disheveled.

But here’s the thing - most predators aren’t unlike the rest of us. A lot of them are actually charming. They look just like us and use various techniques to gain the trust of potential targets, get close, and then strike. They want your guard to be down to make it easier for them, so they won’t do anything obvious until the time is right.

Ted Bundy is a famous example - did he look like an obvious serial killer? Not really. Many called him handsome and charming - and author Ann Rule said he would have made a “perfect husband” and even said he was kind and empathetic. He graduated from college, volunteered for multiple political campaigns, worked phones at a suicide hotline crisis center, and eventually got married and had a child. He was pursuing a career in law and politics, while also moonlighting as a serial killer.

They look like an ordinary family, don't they? Except they are visiting Ted in jail.
Ted Bundy looked more like Don Draper than the Boogie Man.

I could list dozens more, but I think you get the idea.

And those mugshots? Don’t forget that those are taken after a fight with the police - of course they are going to look crazy after fighting to get away from the police.

9. Always Be Polite

This is not so much a myth, as it is something we are commonly taught. It's also the one that brings me the greatest amount of personal frustration. As women most of us are raised to be polite - often excessively and to our own detriment. It’s better to be too polite and walked on than to be called “controlling” or worse “a bitch.” Being polite often gets extended to complete strangers who ask for your time, attention, or assistance, even if your gut intuition is telling you something isn’t quite right.

If your gut is telling you something is wrong, listen to it. I could write an essay on the topic of politeness alone but, suffice to say, it’s much better to risk coming off as rude and apologizing for it later than to be nice and be taken advantage of at best or murdered at worst. Please, always listen to your gut and don't worry what others might say or think of you as a result. If your gut says something's not right, get out of the situation immediately.

These are just some women's self-defense myths

This is not a comprehensive list of women's self-defense myths, but hopefully it has been helpful in dispelling some common misconceptions. What are some myths you have heard?

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